Mohs Surgery and Thankful for the Nurses

I picked my Mohs surgeon, but I didn’t pick the nurse who helped me get through the procedure. Think about it. If you’re like me, you think a lot about your choice of doctor. Maybe you ask friends, family and coworkers for recommendations, maybe you read online reviews. Many of you make a decision, a choice for what dermatologist and surgeon you go to for your check-ups and any procedure you need. But the nurses kind of come with the territory, don’t they? Fortunately, I’ve had wonderful experiences with the nurses in my dermatologist’s office and with those in both of the Mohs surgeons’ offices I went to for both of my surgeries.

Nurses' impact after Mohs surgeries

I feel that the nurses are at least partly responsible for my quick healing from my two Mohs surgeries, and the nurse in my dermatologist’s office helps me just about every time I’m there. Here’s what I mean, here’s what they have done for me:

Nurses who were in the room with me during Mohs surgery helped:

  • By holding my hand. I asked the nurse if I could hold her hand during the stitching up part of the surgery. I hated the thought of getting stitches; I hated the action of the surgeon sewing a piece of skin together on my face. She held my hand as I took deep breaths and it was over before I knew it. I concentrated on how calm she was, and it helped me get through the procedure.
  • They both went over the post-op instructions with me, reinforcing what the surgeon had told me and what was written on the discharge papers. They emphasized the importance of taking it easy afterward, putting ice on the site for 5 minutes on and 5 minutes off, taking Tylenol and Advil to treat and prevent pain, and going easy on the exercise for the week afterward.
  • With my second Mohs, the surgeon had to go in twice to get clean margins. I was nervous when he removed the second section and sent it over to his lab (in another room) to be biopsied. I asked the nurse if she could tell me as soon as they had the biopsy results, even if I still had to wait while the surgeon was in with another patient. I asked to be told the results while I was sitting with my daughter in the waiting room, so I would at least know if I was going to get stitched up next or have to have another section removed. She complied with my request, and it made me feel so much more in control of a basically uncontrollable situation. At least when she came out and told me they had found clear margins, I knew that the next step would be stitching me up and sending me home, and I could relax a little as I waited for the surgeon.

Calmly answering questions

The nurse in my dermatologist’s office helps me every time I’m there for an appointment. By now, she knows that I come in with a list of spots I want the doctor to check, and she reassures me that the doctor will have time to look at each spot. She’s also the one who calls me with biopsy results. Now I would still prefer that the doctor call with results telling me whether or not I have skin cancer, but the nurse who calls has always been calming and answers questions about which Mohs surgeon to use, and is always willing to have the doctor call me back.

Thank you to all the nurses who have helped me get through my skin cancer experience. How have nurses helped you?

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