Hyundai Cancer Institute Associate Spotlight: Sharon Bergeron, Research Educator

The Associates who work with the patients at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s are second to none and this month we are proud to shine a spotlight on the amazing people who make the Cancer Institute great.  All of our Associates, from our oncologists to our physical therapists to our child life specialists, are specially trained to provide our pediatric cancer patients with the support they need during and after treatment.

At the Cancer Institute at CHOC, our nurses receive ongoing education on the unique medical, emotional and social needs of our patients. Sharon Bergeron, RN, BSN, CPON, leads the charge in ensuring our nurses are equipped with the latest information and tools needed to provide our patients with the superior care CHOC is known for. As a research educator, Sharon is dedicated to providing our nurses with the latest news and information available on pediatric cancer treatment, including our cutting-edge clinical trials.

“Over a span of almost 30 years, I have been deeply touched by the many patients and families I have helped cared for through the ups and downs of the cancer treatment journey,” Sharon said.  “It is with this knowledge and experience that I teach other pediatric hematology/oncology nurses what I know about caring for these children so that I can create an environment that allows nurses to provide the highest level of nursing care and flourish in their role. In addition, I work hard to provide an educational environment that encourages nurses to demonstrate independent and critical thinking skills so that they can deliver care yielding excellent patient outcomes and a high level of job satisfaction.”

CHOC Children’s is a magnet hospital, which means that nurses are able to work in an environment that supports the nursing practice and provides them access to the tools to flourish in their careers. We empower our nurses to focus on professional autonomy, decision making at the bedside and obtaining and maintaining nursing certification in their specialty.

Sharon’s role as a pediatric hematology/oncology expert and educator is deeply valued both at the Cancer Institute and in the medical community at large.  She is actively involved with Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), the Southern California Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (SCAPHON) and the Children’s Oncology Group.  She is also editor of APHON Counts, a national newsletter publication for the APHON membership and received the Kathy Ruccione Founder Award for Excellence in Pediatric Oncology Nursing in May 2011.

To learn more about the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, please click here:

http://www.choc.org/cancer/index.cfm

Hyundai Cancer Institute Associate Spotlight: Dr. Marcos Di Pinto

The Associates who work with the patients at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s are second to none and every Friday this month we are proud to shine a spotlight on the amazing people who make the Cancer Institute great.  All of our Associates, from our oncologists to our physical therapists to our child life specialists, are specially trained to provide our pediatric cancer patients with the support they need during and after treatment.

When most people think about cancer, they often forget about psychological side effects of the disease.  The psychological issues patients and families deal with when coping with cancer can be overwhelming. The Cancer Institute has a dedicated psychology team who works closely with patients and families to help them cope with the emotional and psychological stress of cancer.

Psychologists provide an initial consultation when the patient first meets with the Cancer Institute team, and provides assessments throughout the patient’s treatment. Our psychologists possess special expertise in diagnostic testing, therapy, and counseling for common emotional problems associated with cancer.  They assess and treats such issues as depression, anxiety, phobias (to medical procedures), anger, sleep difficulties, loss and grief, and behavioral problems. Moreover, they are available for consultations with parents, schools, physicians and other healthcare providers.

Marcos Di Pinto, Ph.D., is involved with each neuro-oncology patient at the Cancer Institute right from the start.  As a neuropsychologist, he works with patients and families to help them understand how cancer impacts brain development and function.  He continues working with patients throughout their treatment and with follow-up care in the years after treatment ends.

“I have a passion for working with children with tumors of the brain and spinal cord,” Dr. Di Pinto said.  “After doing my two-year residency caring for pediatric oncology patients, I knew that I had found my calling. Working at the Cancer Institute is wonderful because I get to work with amazing patients and their families.”

Bailey is our champion, that’s for sure.

Bailey Spoonhower, 9, was treated at CHOC for, and beat, a rare type of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. He had some advice for kids that feel nervous about coming to the hospital.

Children’s Miracle Network and Walmart have named Bailey the Champion for California. To read more about our efforts with Children’s Miracle Network, click here.