For Steven Golden, there is something special about running into Maura Abbott, a nurse practitioner, when visiting his doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
“She can be walking with a crowd of colleagues and the minute we spot each other, she leaves them to come and see me,” he says of Abbott, the nurse practitioner who once oversaw his care. “She always takes the time to sit down and talk with me.”
Steven met Abbott in 2014 when he enrolled in a clinical trial for which Abbott was a part of the care team. Their interactions marked the first time since his 2008 diagnosis that Steven and his wife and advocate/caregiver, Marilyn, felt like they had a true partner in their cancer journey.
“Maura gave us her home number and email and made us feel like we could contact her anytime with questions—and we did,” he says.
Since their first interaction, Steven and Marilyn have exchanged countless emails with Abbott and spent untold hours discussing lab results, treatment protocols, and medical studies on the phone and in the clinic.
“There’s a lot of fear associated with what you’re dealing with,” says Steven. “[Maura] knows how to make us feel comfortable. She is experienced, she knows what she’s talking about … and there’s a sense of trust, and we trust her.”
Abbott joined the hematology/oncology department at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center the same year she met Steven. She believes that taking a hands-on approach to care is an essential part of her role as a nurse practitioner.
“Our patients are more than a medication dose or a lab value on a piece of paper, and nurses are more than needles and stethoscopes,” she says. “We form close bonds with all of our patients and almost become like families.”
Abbott believes these nurse-patient bonds are unique in a healthcare setting.