By Mary Schmalfeldt, BSN, RN
Clinical Support Educator
Recently, I had an opportunity to do something for a friend I wish I could do for every person who receives a frightening or confusing new diagnosis such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Simply put, I let her talk. I listened to her fears and concerns, and I told her that she will not be alone in this battle. I wanted her to learn what she could do to begin to manage her disease and feel some measure of control.
She had already gone through months of suffering with painful inflammation and swelling of her joints, not to mention the stress of not understanding what was happening to her body. The pain was preventing her from being able to easily do normal daily activities. She felt so tired physically and emotionally most of the time, which was very unlike her. In fact, she said it was almost a relief to receive the diagnosis by her rheumatologist, as it explained why she had been feeling the way she had.
After hearing her diagnosis, she said she doesn’t actually remember much about what else was said at the appointment because she was so overcome with emotions. She knew she had some real work ahead of her, and that’s when she sought me out for advice since I had experience working with RA patients.
Below are the key concepts I shared with my friend. As Clinical Nurse Educators with VMS BioMarketing, we guide patients on these actions throughout their treatment journey on behalf of our biopharma clients.
I believe I helped my friend come to realize that even though her life was going to change because of her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, she was not going to let the diagnosis take control of her life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients could learn to feel so empowered?