Alison Schroeter is a clinical trials oncology nurse at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) and was redeployed to assist COVID-19 clinical trials at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Alison began her nursing career on the Medical Oncology Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in 2013 and transitioned to the research nurse position in 2019.
What has it been like to switch from being an oncology nurse to working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response?
I started my career as an inpatient oncology nurse where I often took care of patients who participated on clinical trials. About a year ago, I transitioned my career to the CPDM (Clinical Protocol and Data Management Office) where I now help execute phase I oncology trials. On my redeployment, I am able to work on clinical trials specifically for COVID-19, outside of my previous experience in oncology. I am grateful for all the places my career has taken me, and certainly for the opportunity to contribute to COVID-19 research during this pandemic.
How has this experience affected your view on your profession as a nurse?
Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a nurse. If anything, this pandemic has solidified my choice of being a nurse. Working on the COVID-19 clinical trials, I have witnessed first-hand nurses come together, eager to help and work outside their comfort zone always prioritizing the patient.
Is there a specific experience in your redeployment that has impacted you?
Most of the patients we have enrolled into the COVID-19 studies have been on ventilators, so we have been in close contact with the patients’ family members. Given there is no treatment for COVID-19 at this time, many of the patients’ families have expressed immense gratitude to our clinical trial’s team for our kind and compassionate treatment and giving their loved ones a chance at beating this virus. I have received many phone calls from these family members who call concerned not just for their loved ones, but also for the health and safety of the healthcare team. They call to tell us they are praying for us, thinking of us, and so thankful for all that we do. I am truly honored to be able to work as a nurse, helping the people that most need it and being able to do what I can to contribute to the efforts to fight COVID-19.
-Interview by Jennifer Lee
Jennifer is a clinical trials nurse who works with breast cancer patients at the HICCC. She also was recently redeployed to work on COVID-19 clinical trials at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.