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Nurses who provide care to cancer patients do some of the most emotionally difficult work there is in medicine. The life and death situations they routinely face can lead to what was once known as burnout, but is now called "compassion fatigue." The issue is compounded by the ethical dilemmas that frequently surround end-of-life treatment decisions made by physicians and family members.

This week on “Take Care,” Pattie Jakel discusses the ethics of oncology nursing. Jakel is a clinical nurse specialist in the Solid Oncology Program at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, Santa Monica, California. She has a master’s degree in nursing and has published studies on the ethical conflicts of oncology nursing.

Nurses who provide care to cancer patients do some of the most emotionally difficult work there is in medicine. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interview Pattie Jakel, a clinical nurse specialist in the Oncology Program at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital in California. They discuss the ethical dilemmas oncology nurses often confront.

Michelle Faust / WXXI News

This is the latest installment in our ongoing series on the health risks of nursing.

Emily Roth sits in a café after a long weekend shift. The 27-year-old obstetrics nurse eats a sandwich and gushes about her 15-month-old daughter. Her smile puffs her cheeks up, lifting her brown rectangular-framed glasses away from her face.

Roth has been a nurse for three years and she loves her job, but she hasn’t always felt that way.

"I was going home pretty stressed out on a regular basis. I would go home and cry to my husband sometimes," she said.

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The American Nurses Association reports 8 out of 10 nurses say they frequently work with joint or back pain. The nursing profession has the highest rate of on-the-job injuries of any other in the country. According to many the solution to both problems: more nurses on staff at hospitals.

"The nurses, in many ways, are the last line of defense against harm to patients," John James, founder of Patient Safety America. His organization campaigns to lower the number of injuries to patients in the hospital.

Michelle Faust / WXXI

Three seniors in the nursing program at the SUNY College at Brockport follow professor Jennifer Chesebro through a long nondescript room with eight occupied hospital beds along the walls.

Chesebro addresses each patient by name, and handles them with the tender touch that she’s developed in 21 years of nursing.

Each patient has their own unique ailments for the students to practice treating, but they stare up with hard fixed plastic eyes. The patients in this room don’t respond to their caregivers — they’re mannequins.

Julia Botero

For the second year in a row, every student who completed Jefferson County Community College's nursing program passed the New York State Board of Nursing exam on their first try. This makes JCC one of the top schools in New York to get an associate's degree in nursing. But does the best test taker make the best nurse? 

This week, HealthLink on Air is airing an entire episode devoted to nursing. We will hear about two types of specialized nursing care, plus we’ll hear from the author of the American Nurse Project.

Cazey Hammerle, a nurse at Upstate University Hospital, talks about the challenges of caring for patients who are overweight or obese. Many of these patients have diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, degenerative joint disease and/or high cholesterol -- which can complicate their medical care.

Coming up this week: nurse practitioners seek independence

Mar 28, 2014

We'll take on the controversy surrounding the independence of nurse practitioners. Should they be allowed to practice independently? The deans of Upstate Medical University's college of Medicine and Nursing discuss.

"The concerns that have been expressed is that they may not have had the same depth and breadth as physician training does,” says Dr. David Duggan, College of Medicine dean. “But the key, for anyone, is to know their limits and to know what is in the best interest of their patient and when their patient needs to get additional care.”

Hear more Sunday at 9 p.m.