As a longtime nurse in the intensive care unit and clinical education coordinator for University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton, Kim Brice, RN, knows the high level of care that is available to Mid-Shore residents close to home and family. She never knew just how good that care was however, until she began her own cancer journey. The Easton resident and mother of four was diagnosed with Advanced Stage IIIC ovarian cancer in the summer of 2012. From that moment on, she says she understood for the first time what many of her patients had gone through.
“I had always been healthy so I was fortunate that I had never received such a life-changing diagnosis before,” says Brice. “Now that I have been through my journey, I understand that ‘blank look’ you get after you receive unexpected news about your health and how it feels to suddenly be dependent on others to take care of you. I think that today, having been through that, I can relate better to them.”
While Brice’s ovarian cancer protocol was one that had never been performed at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s cancer center, the physicians and staff did not hesitate – and neither did Brice.
“It was a unique dose of chemotherapy with a unique port location but they never hesitated in offering me the option to get my treatments here,” says Brice, whose care was coordinated seamlessly between a designated nurse at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton and an oncology nurse at UM Shore Regional Health’s outpatient cancer. “They did an amazing job — no one should ever have to leave the Mid-Shore to get the care that they need. To be able to get those treatments close to home made a world of difference for me and my family.”
Now that Brice has completed her treatments and is one-year cancer free, she is finding new ways to give back to the community – and to the patients that she cares for.
“I understand how badly you feel after chemotherapy – how even the slightest movement around your port can be so painful,” says Brice. “When I see these patients in the ICU, I understand the extra emotional and physical needs that they have and can be a better nurse to them in the process.”
In addition to improving her nursing practice, one of the ways Brice plans to give back is to share her story of success with other cancer patients.
“They were amazing with my treatments,” adds Brice. “Everyone was in sync and went the extra mile to make sure I was getting the best possible care. I saw others that were getting care who were treated the same way – it wasn’t just because I was a fellow nurse. They are truly the best at what they do.”
Kim plans to participate in a 5K walk to benefit the Central Maryland Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition later this fall. Brice is raising funds and looking for teammates for the walk, which takes place on September 29.
“When you go through the kind of journey that I have been through and received the kind of care I have, you feel compelled to give back,” adds Brice. “I just want people to know the kind of services and people that we have right here on the Mid-Shore.”