My blog series, Bridging the Gap, with Tracy Whitworth, Survivorship Care Coordinator for Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, Western Regional Medical Center continues as we catch up with her after her second in person training weekend. Tracy, you recently completed Mod II, the second of three in person training modules with the Institute for Professional…
Tracy, in our last blog interview, we explored the challenge of survivors who avoid preventative testing out of fear of having to go through treatment again. Let’s take a look at a related issue…what it’s like for the healthcare professional with a patient or survivor who makes a choice the healthcare professional doesn’t feel is in the patient/survivor’s best interest.
When a healthcare professional has a situation such as a survivor who chooses not to do preventative testing, what are some of the challenges that can come up for the professional?
We continue my interview, Taking a Pass on Prevention, with Tracy Whitworth…
Something I’ve noticed as I coach more and more nurses is how often they are already using some of the basic coaching skills and often are unaware of it. Coach training increases their awareness so they can consciously build in use of the tools more frequently instead of wondering why sometimes their patient dialogue is effective and other times they feel like they just can’t get through. Nurses are also often already very patient-centered so they know to honor patients’ wishes.
How has the coach training helped you be more at peace when a patient or survivor makes a choice that you wouldn’t personally necessarily feel is in their best interest such as avoiding preventative scans?
As a trained coach, I tend to notice patterns more than I did, perhaps, in the past. I no longer see them as coincidences. Instead I look to see what opportunity the pattern may be calling for my attention.
Recently, I’ve come across a number of my followers in Social Media who have shared openly as cancer survivors that they are choosing to take a pass on the recommended follow up tests and scans that typically become part of the landscape of survivorship. I decided to check in with Tracy Whitworth, CTCA AZ’s Survivorship Care Coordinator we’ve been following on her journey through coach training with iPEC, to see what she could share with my readers on this topic.
Been holding back in life? Falling short of the level of success you know you’re capable of? Not quite ready to make your next move? Watch this video and then ask yourself again,
What’s YOUR next move?
She stood out like a yellow rose against the beige backdrop of the waiting room. Dressed more for the derby than an oncology appointment, the woman, whose name I would never know, looked out with large, dark doe eyes from under the wide brim of her floppy sunshine colored hat. Over-sized pearls the size of a Robin’s eggs circled her neck. But it was the shoes that compelled me to speak.
“Those would look great on a Tango floor,” I shared, pointing at the flowered stilettos with four inch heels. Her smile broke the demure posture she’d been holding as she reached back into a memory of when she used to dance. Before cancer. We talked about how much she loved the dance and how long it took her to finally drag her husband to classes. Just before she was diagnosed. Just before “the wheels fell off” as she put it.
We continue to follow Tracy Whitworth, the Survivorship Care Coordinator for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix, as she trains to become a certified professional coach through iPEC’s Coach Training Program.
Tracy, you recently completed your first on-the-ground training weekend – three very full days of learning coaching skills with iPEC. What was your biggest ah-ha moment of the weekend you’d like to share?
For me, it was becoming truly aware. The weekend intensive gave me the opportunity to recognize where my apprehensions, fears and worries stemmed from. Even more exciting was the realization that I have the power to change this and move forward. Does this mean I magically don’t still have fearful, worrying moments? Of course not. They still occur, but I am better equipped to handle these moments through awareness and support I have now built.
What are two ways you feel you will now approach your role differently with what you’ve learned in just this first weekend?
Tracy, you read my blog post, The Language of Cancer and we felt that addressing this topic up front at the start of your journey for our readers would be beneficial. One of the goals of coaching is to reduce stress so knowing that certain words or phrases can be “hot buttons” for people, we decided to explore this as part of laying the foundation of this journey of transformation.
What one takeaway stood out most to you in that blog post you feel your clients could most benefit from? What about it do you feel could be beneficial?
I truly enjoyed your written piece regarding language and the importance the written word, along with the limitations it has. We all come from different points of views. This can have an impact on how we interpret what is being said, but just as you pointed out there is typically no malice intended in the words spoken. It’s just that we each have our own perspective of what they mean. What human beings most desire is to be able to convey our thoughts, feelings, and needs appropriately in a way we are heard.
Last week in Part 1, I introduced you to the new initiative at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Phoenix) and how Tracy Whitworth, RN, is taking the lead as the first Survivorship Care Coordinator to enter iPEC’s full coach training certification program. This week, we continue my interview with Tracy.
Tracy, what are some of the top challenges facing survivors you believe becoming trained as a coach will help you address?
Fear is the first thing that comes to mind. I recall a close friend of mine who was diagnosed with breast cancer tell me that once she heard she had breast cancer she probably heard about every third word. In that moment, everything the doctor was saying seemed to sound muffled and incoherent. It was hard for her to not to go to a place of despair which can be a very natural response to hearing news like this. It can be even harder for someone to pull himself or herself out of that reaction.
I love featuring stories of people who have faced the challenge of cancer and created a way to make a difference for others out of the experience. Recently, Margot Malin of Lots to Live For offered me the opportunity to guest blog on her Cancer Blog: Lots To Live For! about my experiences creating my eBook project, 10 to Thrive. I wanted to reciprocate and also find out more about her and her company.
Margot, please share what your inspiration was to start Lots to Live For.
I had a successful eighteen year career at a major Wall Street investment management firm. In 2002 several events motivated me to “Pay it Forward” and launch Lots to Live For – a Collection of Resources for Cancer Patients.