On June 24, 2023, Emily Conklin celebrated the completion of her chemotherapy at the Orthopedics and Surgical Care (OSC) unit at Skagit Valley Hospital. To commemorate this huge milestone, Emily had the honor of ringing the chemo bell – and was the first OSC chemo patient to do so.
New Chemo Bell Installed
The OSC unit recently installed a brand-new chemo bell to their unit. Ringing a bell to mark the end of cancer treatment is a cancer facility tradition that has been around since 1996. When first hearing about this tradition from a staff member, the OSC team realized they were missing out on a great opportunity. They agreed to establish an end-of-cancer-treatment process to celebrate each patient as they reach this milestone.
Bryce Dickie, (RN, MN, BSN, CMSRN) is the Orthopedic Surgical Care Unit and Inpatient Wound/Ostomy Manager. He discusse,d with team members of Skagit Regional Health Cancer Care to learn about their celebration, bell, and how the team can get started.
“Most patients who come to OSC for chemo spend 3-5 days with us and then return monthly for multiple cycles,” said Bryce. “We get to know these patients, their families and friends. The addition of this celebration will be exciting for all involved.”
To Celebrate Each and Every One!
After securing a bell, the team ordered a plaque to be hung next to it. An outpatient oncology nurse’s husband made this special plaque. This reads, “When your last chemo has come and gone, ring the bell to tell everyone!” The team also created certificates to be handed to patients during the celebration. Staff members have the opportunity to write heart-felt messages on the certificate before it is given to the patient.
The OSC unit staff are thrilled to have the bell in place to celebrate their patients’ successes. “Seeing the patients laugh, cry and celebrate their chemo success made an impact on me,” shared Mary Ann Sains, staff nurse at the OSC unit. “Their commitment to the regimen, enduring the side effects, and the fear that they endure is enough to want to celebrate each and every one!”
Ringing the Chemo Bell
With a committed, caring team and the desire to celebrate their patients’ treatment wins, the OSC unit now has a bell and plaque in place for patients to ring out their treatment. Emily Conklin was the first to celebrate the end of her treatment with the new OSC bell and had her support group surrounding her to share in the moment. “I’m so excited for Emily to be the first chemo patient to ring the bell!” exclaimed Mary Ann. “I know she really wanted to do it.”
Skagit Valley Hospital
Orthopedics and Surgical Care
See original article in Skagit Regional Health’s HealthQuest Stories.