If the Shared Care Nursing team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center had a theme song, it could be Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”
MSK patients that need urgent care may receive care closer to home. That’s when MSK’s 34 Shared Care nurses — led by Carol Gemignani — step in.
These exceptional nurses work closely with both the patients’ primary care team and external health care providers, regularly sharing information about each patient’s condition and coordinating their care while they’re hospitalized locally.
“We are the bridge,” explains Carol, who helped start the program two and a half years ago. Since then, she has grown the team to its current size, recruiting top-tier talent. To wit: the nurses have 547 years of combined experience, 92% are certified, and 15 hold advanced degrees.
“I’ve been very thoughtful about who has joined the team,” says Carol, whose resume includes more than three decades of critical care nursing experience. “We’ve needed nurses with a wide array of clinical backgrounds and a strong, empathetic spirit.”
MSK’s Top-Notch Multi-Hyphenates
Importantly, the nurses always are there for their patients and loved ones. Their role is equal parts emotional support system, cheerleader, multitasker, information gatherer, and problem-solver.
“Our top priority is making sure our patients and their families feel supported every step of the way,” says Carol, noting the Shared Care Nursing staff can be reached via email or phone 7 days a week. “We are an important touchpoint.”
In 2021, the team coordinated care for more than 6,000 MSK patients.
“We are reminded how important our work is when we can hear a family member smiling or sighing in relief on the other end of the phone while they express their appreciation for our help during what is almost always a stressful time,” says Lindsay Brown, who has been a Shared Care nurse since July 2021.
Recently, a patient’s daughter sent a message to the team, expressing her gratitude:
“I just wanted to tell you that you are all amazing. You were there for Dad and me every step of the way. You kept my head above water in the most caring manner. I talked about your team as being the best nurses I have ever encountered. Please know there is a special place in my heart for all of you, and I can’t thank you enough.”