5 Things Every Nurse Caring for Mesothelioma Patients Should Know

Posted by Adam Rapp | Nursing

Aug 21, 2017

The role that a nurse plays within patient’s grueling and stressful battle with mesothelioma cannot be understated. Knowing how to handle the situation is vital to the patient’s health. Here are 5 helpful tips that will go a long way:

This guest post was created by Brad Richardson. At eMedCert, we strongly encourage all forms of guest posting. If you are interested in publishing your work on the eMedCert blog, please contact our editorial team at adam.rapp@emedcert.com.


As a nurse, you have probably cared for cancer patients and feel like you understand the process and routines involved. It is important to know that mesothelioma is a type of cancer which nurses will see an increase in over the few years. If it is not something you are familiar with, you can check the website dedicated to mesothelioma information and familiarize yourself.


5 Things Every Nurse Caring for Mesothelioma Patients Should Know | eMedCert


In addition to the detailed facts you find, there are 5 things every nurse caring for mesothelioma patients should know that go far beyond textbook readings, professor lectures or website information. The things nurses should be aware of most are often ones that you don't learn from textbooks or professors in university. However, they are the most important to remember in providing care to cancer patients.


1. Patients Need Validation


When your cancer patient is feeling less than positive and wants to scream out of frustration and fear, let them. Asking them to stay calm or keep a positive attitude only adds to the myriad of expectations and burdens they are dealing with. Let them grieve and feel that sadness. Try not to squash it just because it may feel uncomfortable for you or others in the room.


2. Speak Directly to Your Patients


Don't avoid speaking to your patient in favor of speaking with their family. It is even worse if the patient is right there in the room and the family is being addressed instead of the patient. Mesothelioma doesn't take away a person's identity. They are still present and many patients want to have an active role in their course of treatments and decision processes.


3. Have Patience and Thick Skin


If your patient is going through an aggressive round of chemotherapy, be prepared to be yelled at, cursed at and hated on. Have patience with your patient. They are being injected with poison and their bodies are fighting that poison. This will cause pain like you cannot imagine. The mood swings that come with chemo can be drastic and many. Don't take it to heart, just put on a thick skin.


4. Try to Create Some Kind of Normalcy


The very last thing any mesothelioma patient wants is to be treated like they could drop dead at any moment. Try to maintain some normalcy for your patient. Ask how the movie was they just watched or how their kids are doing. Share your own stories from home about your kids or something great you saw on TV. Don't be afraid to befriend your patient.


5. Your Role in the Patient's Life is Very Important


There will be people coming and going from your patient's room (and life) during the course of treatments and care. You, as their nurse, are the second most important person next to a spouse or partner. Your patient trusts you with intimate, private things like help in the bathroom and bathing. Your patient will look to you for better understanding with the medical jargon the doctors may tell them. Never underestimate your importance in the lives of your patients.


You may not be able to save a life with these important facts, but you certainly can make the quality of life for a mesothelioma patient that much better. Sometimes near the end, a nurse is all a patient has by his side and that is a very powerful position to hold.