Dear Every Cancer Patient I Ever Took Care Of: I’m Sorry. I Didn’t Get It

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Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


           There’s an old saying that to truly understand someone, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. Lindsay Norris, a nurse who treats patients at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, found out how true that is.

            Two years ago, she found out she had stage 3 colorectal cancer. Suddenly she found herself experiencing the same sorts of tests and procedures her patients were going through. She says it was overwhelming at first, since she knew what to expect. But she gradually began to see things from their point of view, and she says that changed her outlook on nursing forever. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t act a little differently now with my patients,” said Norris. “It’s not that I think we did a bad job before, or that I was a bad nurse before, but I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get everything that this involves.” She even started a blog aimed at helping cancer patients with her unique perspective. Norris is now two years out from her diagnosis and doing great. She hopes to hear next January, two years after her surgery, that she’s cancer-free.

            In the video Norris explains how long she’s been caring for cancer patients, and what it was like getting the diagnosis. She says now she’s able to relate better to her patients, being more patient with them, and spending more time on the phone with them for example. She also says she’s able to pick up on clues that maybe not all is going well for a patient, and she’s able to help with supportive services sooner rather than later. She says her patients are thankful and comforted by talking with someone who’s been through it. She talks about her cancer journey and how she was able to keep working through most of it, and she explains why the relationship between a patient and their nurse is so important.

            The video also shows Norris at her two-year checkup exam.