For Urology Nurses and Associates Week, (November 1-7) at BCAN we are highlighting a few nurses making a difference in the lives of people with bladder cancer.
Ella Kot works at the University of Minnesota in the Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers as a Senior Project and Program Manager. She has been with the organization for over nine years. She has been a nurse for ten years and loves everything about it. She has an amazing husband Boris of 12 years and two blessed children, Brianna 8 and Brandon 4. Her passion is to help people in any way she can and be a light to this world.
How did you decide to become a urology nurse?
I never really thought of becoming a urology nurse. It just happened that I went into the Urology field and learned so much more than I could ever imagine. I find it fascinating how many sub specialties there are within the Urology specialty. Once I got into Urology I did not want to get out. And here I am, after 9 years, still going strong.
What are the biggest challenges of the job?
The biggest challenge in Urology is the oncology side of it. It is very hard to see patients and their families going through this tough journey in their life. I think it’s even harder for me, because I went through this journey with my mom.
What is most rewarding about this work?
The most rewarding part of being a Urology nurse is to see a smile on a patient’s face. To hear the words of gratitude. To see the whole family rejoicing together, because their loved one’s surgery was a success. To hear “Thank You”. And just to be there for people when they have no control over their disease.
In your opinion, what are the biggest needs in bladder cancer? What would you like to see change?
I believe that the biggest need in bladder cancer is awareness. People know so little about this disease, but there is so much to know. More and more young patients get bladder cancer for unknown reasons. We need to raise awareness and let others know that this can touch young and old, healthy and unhealthy, poor and rich; bladder cancer can touch everyone. What I would like to see is for more people to be aware that this disease is very real.
What can be done to raise awareness about the disease?
More patient education, support groups and more community events like bladder cancer walks, runs, and fundraising events.
What motivated you to organize a walk for bladder cancer awareness this year?
This was a second year that I organized a bladder cancer walk in Minneapolis, MN. I honestly was very nervous and clueless on how to organize such an important, big event. But I took the step of faith and was so happy with the turnout. We had over 100 people walking this year. What really motivated me was that there was nothing in the community bringing together bladder cancer patients and their family and friends. The bladder cancer walk was a perfect way to raise awareness and bring us all together for one important cause, bladder cancer.