Rebecca Farrell, MSN, RN
Rebecca Farrell, MSN, RN, clinical nurse manager of ambulatory care at Fox Chase Cancer Center – Huntingdon Pike can attest to the fact that cutting-edge cancer care cannot be sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her role, Farrell has a number of responsibilities, one of which is to implement the new technologies and procedures that members of the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology want to bring to their patients.
“Our urologists are always trying to remain on the cutting-edge of urologic care,” Farrell said. “Over the last year or two, we have implemented several new types of outpatient procedures.”
Those procedures include use of the ExactVu™ micro-ultrasound technology for screening of suspicious prostate lesions, transperineal prostate biopsies, and the use of SpaceOar hydrogel prior to radiation therapy to the prostate.
“My role is to manage the contracts on the machines, get them installed, and oversee staff training and competency,” Farrell said. “This takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, but I love working with a team that is always looking for something that is going to help cure our patients' cancer. That is what we strive for every day.”
On top of overseeing the availability of these new procedures, Farrell is also responsible for managing all of the clinic staff, nurses, and clinic assistants. That includes making the clinic schedule, staffing appropriately for day-to-day operations, and also obtaining all necessary supplies used for clinical activity including personal protective equipment.
This is a monumental task in normal times, but it was made much more challenging when COVID-19 hit.
“I worked closely with Dr. Alexander Kutikov in the urology department to start the telehealth program that would be used throughout Fox Chase,” Farrell recalled. “It took a few weeks to get that set up and running smoothly, and then we started the process of rearranging the scheduling of the thousands of patients we care for.”
Even with a telehealth system in place, Farrell and her colleagues also had to tackle the best way to bring those patients that had to be seen in-person safely back into the clinic.
At the start of 2021, Farrell also stepped up to manage all COVID-19 vaccine clinic scheduling. She worked tirelessly the last four months to schedule patients for vaccination, making sure that no available appointment went unfilled.
Farrell’s commitment is a reflection of her entire staff’s, she said, who have been met with every potential challenge during COVID-19 at their smaller off-site campus. All have stepped up, no matter the role they have been asked to fill.
“Being their leader, I had to maintain composure and stay level headed throughout this challenging time, but I was frequently scared on the inside, too,” Farrell admitted. “Changes were happening so frequently we often didn’t know what the change of the day might be.”
As the pandemic begins to turn the corner, Farrell has started the process of adapting her role and her team’s role to the new normal. Regardless of what additional challenges might come their way, Farrell knows that her talented and dynamic team can handle them. “The patients that we see rely on us,” Farrell said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”