Chapter 11: The Enterstomal Ostomy Team, Infusion Therapy, and the Oncology Nurse Certification Program

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Chapter 11: The Enterstomal Ostomy Team, Infusion Therapy, and the Oncology Nurse Certification Program

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In this chapter, Ms. Alt talks about additional projects she took on that made a lasting mark in nursing and the institution. In response to an interviewer comment about fragmentation in nursing currently, Ms. Alt notes that during her tenure, there was no particular fragmentation. She also comments on the growing use and acceptance of physician assistants during that period. Next, Ms. Alt discusses the evolution of the Enterstomal Ostomy Team, created under Renilda Hilkemeyer [oral history interview]. She explains the context in which the need for this team evolved to provide support and education for patients who needed to manage these appliances. Her goal was to also add an educational component for students learning this dimension of oncology nursing. She notes the close relationships that evolved between the team and patients. Next, she talks briefly about the Infusion Therapy Team and the IV Teams. She then turns to the development of the credit-bearing Oncology Nurse Certification Program, which was a precursor to the master’s degree in cancer nursing. She notes that the Division of Nursing was the first to have such a program in Houston. She explains that the curriculum focused on nursing care around chemotherapy treatments, side effects, and care of the catheter. Ms. Alt explains that small hospitals across the country could call on her for advice as they set up oncology services.

Identifier

Alt,J_02_20180618_S11

Publication Date

6-18-2018

Publisher

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Building the Institution; Obstacles, Challenges; Contributions; Activities Outside Institution; Career and Accomplishments; Post Retirement Activities; Professional Values, Ethics, Purpose; Leadership; On Leadership; Building/Transforming the Institution; Leadership; On Leadership; MD Anderson Culture; Working Environment; Growth and/or Change; Obstacles, Challenges; Critical Perspectives

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

What did you feel, now that you look back, what do you feel are kind of the lasting marks that you left?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

I think clinical advancement was important. We really got the role of clinical nurse specialist in the institution. Knowing that self-governance, it’s not a privilege, it’s a responsibility, and that I cared a bunch. I don’t know how many times I’ve had cards and calls, that I cared and they missed it. So. That’s why I was surprised, last night they called and [she] said [ ] TNA wwas going to do a commentary on my career at MD Anderson and with emphasis on the self-governance model and success in addressing turnout, etc.]

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And who were these individuals?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

TNA, they’re doing it.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And that’s, what is that?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Texas Nursing Association.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Oh, okay, neat. So they’re doing—and they’re interviewing you for this TV show?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

That’s pretty cool.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

So what did they say, why did they say they called you? Blow your own horn a little here.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

They sort of talked about the things that we’ve talked about, that they felt—you know, it was very nice—that I was about ten years ahead of my time and it was important that it’s heard. You know, and it was so crazy. [The person who fired me] [Redacted] said, “Now, we’re going to have a party for you.” Never had a party. [The nurse managers and chairs also gave me a party] without her. You know those kinds of things hurt. I didn’t need a party. It was, just think, people cared enough. I hope, you know sometimes I think, what goes around comes around, but I don’t know.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Now, after you retired, how did life evolve for you?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Okay, I mean I had to get over the blow of it and it took a while. Then, we adopted a daughter, actually she was five years old when I left, and that took a lot of my time, and I’m thankful that I have the time with her.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And your daughter’s name?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Alexandra.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And your partner’s name?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Pat. Patricia. Alexandra will turn 30 Thursday.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Wow.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

We got her from Peru.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Well that’s exciting. What is she doing?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Not enough. (both laugh) She’s got a bachelor’s from U of H, in interpretation, and that’s primarily what she’s focusing on is getting certified and all that good stuff. Loves it, but she just, she’s enjoying life, so let her fly around for a while I guess.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

A little while, yeah. So you had a young child to turn your mind to. Did you continue mentoring or doing connections at all with the institution, or with the nursing community?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

No, no, and the reason I didn’t, I was afraid. I was afraid for them. Now that sounds terrible, but I was, because I’d get calls and they said, “you never heard of me” [and then tell me their concerns]. It was, it was—I kind of felt like a gangster there for a while.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

You know, it tells an interesting story about how institutions work in times of turbulence, and this is—these are real things, they happen. I mean, I’m sorry you had to go through it.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Me too.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Pretty crummy.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Yeah. I mean, you want to get rid of me fine, let’s just do it aboveboard and move on, but boy, getting beat up, and then what really threw me was that police check. Now, I’m a criminal, what do they think I’ve done?

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

That’s really strange, but interesting, that you had a good enough relationship with the police chief that he told you. (laughs)J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

That he calls me.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

So there.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

He came up and then he said, “Do we need to talk, are you okay?” I said, “No, I’m just a little stunned.”

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Yikes. Now, so the Texas Nursing Association knows about you, knew about you. So how did they kind of keep you on their radar, if you’ve been out of the nursing community?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

[I was an active member of TNA for many years and was delegate to their national conferences. in addition, one person] [ ] did talk to me [in an interview] about it used to work for me, and she’s very active in TNA.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And who is this?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Terry Throckmorton, Dr. Terry Throckmorton. I don’t know what her position is now. I know that she’s working, or used to work for a drug company and did research. I don’t know what she’s doing now. We employed her strictly to do research, to help students from the schools of nursing. The benefit for us was she took on projects for the Division of Nursing, for research.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

So, I mean just so I’m—what kind of research and what benefit for the students?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Instead of going to through the School of Nursing, I mean that’s where it had its start, you know you get permission to do this project. But they needed a mentor within the clinical area.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

I see. So she was sort of the liaison between the student doing the project and MD Anderson as an institution.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Okay, gotcha, gotcha. So that was a whole other—was that kind of a new area, of encouraging nursing students to come in and do research projects?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Oh, yeah. What was really new about it was to have somebody on our end there. I mean it was hard to get research through Anderson. They know how to do it, there are all these fences you jump and you know, nursing students don’t know that, and they have somebody to help beside them, to help them jump those fences and get their work done, it was most appreciated. Some of the faculty from the schools of nursing were also doing research, but it was always in relation to nursing.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Interesting, yeah. So that obviously was another way of strengthening nursing research at the institution.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Oh yeah, yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Which would just have been huge. Now, who took over as head after you left?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

I don’t really know.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

I’m trying to remember.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Because there’s been a couple. [Information added: Crosby.]

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

There have been a few. I mean there’s Donna, was Barbara Summers.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Well, Crosby first of all.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Okay, so I didn’t know Crosby. So Crosby came in after you?J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Mm-hmm.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Okay, so that, yeah.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

Well he came before I left. Actually, he was there to get rid of me.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Okay, gotcha. And I can’t remember the earlier history of Barbara Summers coming in, you know who was prior to her.J

Joyce Alt, RN, MS:

I have a good friend who was a clinical nurse specialist over there, and she told me the names but it didn’t [register].01:01:04]

Chapter 11: The Enterstomal Ostomy Team, Infusion Therapy, and the Oncology Nurse Certification Program

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