Introducing a Cystic Fibrosis Nurse Coordinator
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common genetic diseases affecting over 4,300 Canadians. It leads to mucous problems in the lungs, digestive tract, and other organs. With newborn screening, babies are diagnosed with CF at birth. Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) McMaster Children’s Hospital supports children and youth with CF before they transition at age 18 to HHS McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC) Boris Clinic.
During the month of May, we recognize National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and those diagnosed with the disease. Throughout a CF patient’s health-care journey, there are many professionals that help with their care, including a CF nurse coordinator. Carole Corner plays an important role in patients’ health at the MUMC Boris CF Clinic and works very closely with her patients to provide support.
The gift of interaction
Corner has been working in the HHS family since 1992. She is a registered nurse and has worked in the burn and trauma unit, intensive care unit, heart investigation unit, thrombosis clinic, and operating room. Corner shares more about how her role in the CF clinic has given her the gift of more patient interaction, which she enjoys most.
“I love my nursing career,” says Corner. “I’ve worked in many different hospitals between operating rooms and emergency departments, but I wanted more interaction with patients and their families.”
Corner’s role as a CF nurse coordinator is to oversee the operations of the CF clinic. She is the primary contact for patients to reach out to and assists with providing education and connecting patients to other health-care providers if necessary.
“The thing I enjoy most about this role is the relationship building with the patient, and really getting to be with them and support them throughout their journey with CF,” says Corner.
The CF nurse coordinator primarily manages clinical care for patients in and out of the clinic, ensuring continuity of care between patients and the rest of the CF team.
First point of contact for patients
One of Corner’s patients, Carly Soyka, was diagnosed with CF when she was three years old at HHS McMaster Children’s Hospital and received care at the pediatric CF clinic until she was 18-years-old. She’s now in her 30s and visits Corner at the adult clinic every three months.
“Carole is usually my first point of contact at the clinic,” says Soyka. “She collects all the necessary and important information, takes my blood pressure and oxygen levels, and then relays everything to the doctor before they meet with me. She’s the first person I call if I have questions about my health, prescription renewals, or if I’m sick and need an earlier appointment or consultation with the doctor.”
Corner checks in with Soyka to review her medications and overall health and well-being. She then assists with directing her to other services that she can access if needed.
“It’s the little things that we take for granted sometimes, but it really means a lot to patients,” says Corner. “They just want to know someone’s there for them, and I’m grateful that I get to be one of the first calls they make when they need anything.”
Providing comfort and peace of mind
“Carole is my nurse in the CF clinic, but she really is so much more,” says Soyka. “She keeps the clinic running smoothly and is the go-to person for everyone.”
Soyka adds that Corner provides her comfort alongside her CF journey. “I have such peace of mind knowing that if I’m struggling or having issues with my CF, I can call her and she will help come up with a plan,” says Soyka. “Having CF can be scary at times and Carole really helps make it less frightening. I’m so thankful to have her on my team and feel that she is a huge part of why I’m doing so well.”
“Our CF patients are very strong, resilient people and I enjoy working with each and every one of them,” says Corner.