Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant,
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Inpatient Hospital Tower 6B
Rebecca Spitz, BSN, RN, is known by her colleagues for three innate abilities: connecting with everyone she encounters, bringing people together and making them laugh, even during challenging times.
“When Rebecca is on the unit, there is a sense of positive energy, a belief that the day will be good, a sense the team can handle anything, and a strong knowledge that patients will get the care they deserve,” wrote Janet Bagley, MS, RN, AOCNS, associate chief nursing officer for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in a letter of support.
Spitz skillfully assesses and addresses patients’ clinical and emotional needs. “Sometimes the day calls for a full body laugh, sometimes family pictures or stories, sometimes addressing concerns for a physical symptom and sometimes answering a question about their prognosis,” said Bagley. “Rebecca quickly understands what each person needs and leans into that space with them.”
While caring for a patient who lived out of state, Spitz forged relationships with his family over the phone, letting them know when they needed to come to the hospital as the patient’s condition worsened. She guided them through conversations to understand the patient’s wishes and arranged a transfer so the patient could spend his last days at home.
“Rebecca has dedicated herself to addressing difficult topics with patients and caregivers,” said DFCI nurse educator Michaela Osgood, MSN, RN, who nominated Spitz. “Palliative options, hospice, quality of life, starting a clinical trial and choosing to continue or discontinue treatment are just a few of the discussions that can go on in a day in oncology.”
As Spitz says, “In this journey as an oncology nurse, I always recognize the importance of our work and the trust our patients place in us. I recognize the sacredness of our jobs and try to engage patients’ hearts and minds through our daily tasks of caring for them.”
Spitz is also a strong leader who provides stability to her colleagues. “She has a sound knowledge of what is happening on the unit at all times,” wrote Nursing Director Dany Hilaire, PhD, RN, in a letter of support. “Rebecca is always ready to participate in initiatives to help improve patient care and the environment for patients and peers. “
Spitz exemplifies the strong commitment and collaboration between DFCI and BWH to provide patient-centered care across the cancer continuum. She has focused her entire career on caring for cancer patients in the acute care setting at both DFCI and BWH since receiving her BSN from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.