Source: By Emma Kennedy, The News-Enterprise
It takes a special kind of person to work in oncology for decades, but Nancy Bowles is one of those people. Bowles joined Hardin Memorial Health’s Cancer Care Center in July, moving from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville where she was vice president.
Bowles this week assumed the position of assistant vice president of oncology and hopes to help Hardin County’s cancer care keep patients and their families at home.
“People who work in oncology are a special breed, they’re very caring people,” she said. “When you’re drawn to work with patients who have cancer and everything they’re going through, you can’t do that unless you have a special mentality for that.”
Bowles said that’s the same no matter where you go, how big the hospital or what kind of cancer treatment is being used. Bowles worked 20 years at Kosair Children’s Hospital in oncology before moving on to adult cancer patients also in the Norton Healthcare system.
“With kids, you’d have to take two or three of us to sit them down to start an IV or access a port, but boy, as soon as you get that chemo hooked up they want to go out to the playroom and play,” Bowles said. “It’s like they shake things off real fast and then they’re fine. With adults I think they worry and stress more. … They’re more anxious. That’s just the reality.”
With almost 40 years experience in the Louisville area, Bowles started looking for new opportunities late last year and had resigned herself to the fact she may need to leave Kentucky.
She looked as far away as upstate New York to find a position in such a niche market as developing cancer care programs, but stumbled across HMH’s opening through a job site.
“I called and thought this would be so good because I could do what I do and don’t have to move,” Bowles said. “Then I started talking to the folks here and went online and looked at their annual report for oncology. It was just so impressive and everybody was so nice and positive, and I could see where the cancer program is going here.”
The cancer care center has employed a number of new physicians this year, including a plastic surgeon to round out breast cancer treatment and reconstruction.
Bowles said one of her first tasks will be creating an oncology service line including strategic planning to outline goals for the center.
She said breast cancer has its own multidisciplinary clinic, which means patients can see a number of their doctors in one visit and the service is streamlined, and currently the center is working on doing the same for lung cancer treatments.
“What you want to do is keep people in the area,” Bowles said. “There are some people, their cancers are so rare or difficult to treat they have to go to academic organizations, but 85 percent of people can be treated at home, so we’ve got to get that message out. … (We need to) change that mindset and say, ‘No, we have that care here.’”
Bowles said as a University of Kentucky affiliate and in working with Baptist Healthcare, HMH has access to a number of clinical trials that could be used in oncology down the line.
Emma Kennedy can be reached at 270-505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.