Tufts MC True Blue: Valerie Relias
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Nomination from Julie Sherman, Clinical Nursing Director:
“Val has been a dedicated employee for 15 years. In her role, Val is considered the “keeper of the standards.” She is an expert in the field of hematology/oncology and cancer therapy. Val is responsible for all education that occurs with physicians regarding chemotherapy. Val educates the fellows by providing them monthly lectures around chemotherapy safety. She developed a checklist for the physicians so they are aware of the steps of the process for safe chemotherapy ordering. Val rounds with the team each morning and often is the one validating that the correct medications/chemotherapy is ordered for the patients. On rounds, she is educating the physicians on side effects of the chemotherapy, what the right regimen for the patient may be, as well as educating the nursing staff. After the team has rounded, Val can often be found at the patient’s bedside ensuring there are no further questions the patient may have related to the plan of care and/or the medications.
“’A long-term patient on the Bone Marrow Transplant Service stated, “I appreciated it that Val came in to visit me after rounds because she could tell that I had questions related to my pain regimen. Val took the time to review my meds and formulate a plan for my administration of those meds. She not only cared about the medications, but she listened to my fears and looked at my whole plan of care and sat with me to reassure me of my fears.’ This is the type of employee Val is. She goes above and beyond what is necessary, all for the good of patients.
“For education, she is the go-to person. Mark, the Clinical Educator for the Cancer Center, states ‘In Val we trust.’ She has the answer to it all. When there is a new pain regimen that needs to be started on the unit, Val quickly ensures that the latest literature is provided to the staff to promote evidence-based practice. When there is an emergency on the unit, Val is at the medication code cart guiding the nurses and physicians on the correct medication to order. In the outpatient area, Val is often ensuring that the correct regimens are given to the patients. The nurses in the Infusion Center rely on Val’s expertise and knowledge to guide them on safe practices for chemotherapy administration. In addition to being an expert on rounds with the team, Val is an integral part of the education that is provided to the nurses on the unit. Val will frequently offer in-services to the nurses to enhance their education.
“She will come in on her day off if there is a new protocol that is being rolled out to ensure its safe and timely delivery. One example of Val’s ability to go above and beyond: on one occasion, she came in to do an in-service for the nurses, on her day off, because there was a new treatment a patient was going to start. [There was] a bad ice storm that day; Val had slipped on the ice and hurt herself. Instead of not coming, she still made the trip in to speak with the staff, ice pack applied to her back, so the nurses caring for the patient would have the information they needed…. I would have to say Val’s strongest and most passionate quality is her commitment to safe patient care.”