Jana decided to go to nursing school at the age of 35 and began her career at Miners’ Colfax Medical Center in Raton, NM, where she still works today. She worked a full year on the medical-surgical floor before she specialized in oncology. Jana was a part-time oncology nurse and within 2 years of the time she started working, the staff she originally worked with, which included 2 full-time oncology nurses and a secretary, left the center; Jana became the sole oncology nurse on staff. “
I have been quite busy,” she stated modestly, adding that for the past 21 years she has been the only oncology nurse serving an area of more than 110 miles. “The workload is really a lot for just 1 person,” she added, It is also important to be part of a group that can give you feedback and provide support when issues arise to provide the best care possible for the patient.
Because she lives in the same town that she grew up in, Jana finds herself treating family and friends. “Most patients I see, I have known my entire life,” she explained.“
It is difficult when you treat your classmates or friends in this setting, it is hard not to get attached to patients, she continued. One of the challenges to patient care includes finding ways to help patients pay for their treatment. Jana works closely with patients who cannot easily afford treatment, including those looking for patient assistance programs for drugs that have them. In addition, she finds ways to address other challenges in patient care, including patient adherence to medication, especially now with oral chemotherapy drugs. “If patients are not compliant with their medication, there is a chance for overdose or under dose,” she explained. To that end, Jana assists
patients by providing them with ways to keep track of what they need to take and when to take them. She also calls them to make sure that they are compliant.
Jana is retiring at the end of the year. If she wins the award, she plans to donate the proceeds to the Raton Humane Society. She stated, “It has been an honor and a privilege to care for also many wonderful people at this critical time in their lives.” She plans to pursue her interests in art, music and languages.