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.
Vashti Livingston MS, CNS, CWOCN
Vashti Livingston is a Board Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Clinical Nurse Specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Sidney Kimmel Urology Division and is a graduate of Emory University Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Program. She consults primarily ambulatory outpatient clients for wounds, ostomies, continent urinary diversions and incontinence management. Vashti has also worked at wound clinics and in home care for the Visiting Nurse Service of NY using digital photography and teleconsultation with staff for wound management. Vashti is the current President-Elect for the NERWOCN, Past President of the NY Metro WOCN and on the WOCN National Scholarship Committee. She has also served as Vice President for Sigma Theta Tau Delta Zeta Chapter, and is a member of the WCET (World Council of Enterostomal Therapists) on the Norma Gill Scholarship Committee. She is actively involved in community projects promoting Bladder and Colon Cancer Awareness, and participates in the MSKCC monthly Bladder Cancer Support group. Vashti has done numerous presentations, posters and published articles related to WOC practice. She has served as a clinical expert on an Ostomy online forum including C3Life, and has served as a clinical advisor on ostomy products and services for 2 major companies.
What are the biggest challenges of the job?
The biggest challenge on my job is making sure that patients are seen both pre and post operatively by the CWOCNs and that they receive consistent follow up care in the community.
What is most rewarding about this work?
The most rewarding part of my job is the day a patient comes into the clinic and informs me that they do not need to see me because they are doing well and have adjusted to living with a urinary diversion. I get to see the transformation in someone from being afraid pre operatively to being confident that they can get on with their life.
In your opinion, what are the biggest needs in bladder cancer? What would you like to see change? (in addition to finding a cure!)
The biggest need in Bladder Cancer is that more people especially women would make sure that their PCPs do not dismiss UTIs and do more follow up screening and education. I find it sad when I hear that someone was on medication for frequent UTIs for years and were never referred to a urologist or never even heard about Bladder Cancer until it was too late. Earlier and easier screening is on my wish list.
What can be done to raise awareness about bladder cancer?
We need people to be the on Dr. Oz show (or other high visibility shows), or to have Hollywood discuss Bladder Cancer in a popular show. On a more realistic level, OB-GYN doctors and PCPs should discuss it when planning one’s mammograms, colonoscopy, prostate tests, etc. I have never seen a handout in any regular doctor’s office about Bladder cancer but I can collect tons on other cancers.