Bone Marrow Transplant Nurses Find Family Connection In Their Work.

A patient at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) with graft versus host disease (GVHD), a complication after bone marrow transplants, received a significant boost in his treatment thanks to the close bonds among his nurses. The patient had already undergone a prolonged and complex treatment process for his rare blood disorder and was back in the hospital. Allogeneic Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program Coordinator Jackie Smith, who admitted the patient, knew that he was being considered for a clinical trial overseen by her sister, clinical research nurse Kim Hummel. Meanwhile, Jackie’s daughter, Rachel Smith, happened to be the nurse caring for the patient over the weekend. The three nurses worked quickly and collaboratively to obtain the patient’s consent for the trial, which was time-sensitive due to the administration of systemic steroids.

The family bond among the three nurses is considered a unique strength of Penn Medicine’s bone marrow transplant program, which already emphasizes a sense of camaraderie and extended care for patients. Jackie, Kim, and Rachel bring a lightheartedness and personal touch to their interactions with patients, making a stressful and life-changing experience more manageable. Patients often appreciate the connection between the inpatient and outpatient care teams, as it provides continuity and a sense of comfort. This particular patient, David DeSantis, spoke highly of the nurses’ dedication and remarked that knowing about their familial connection made the hospital feel “a little more homey” during a challenging process.

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