Melissa Pederson embodies the key traits of an exceptional nurse: she is patient-focused, deeply compassionate and extremely capable in her role as a Radiation Oncology RN. One of Melissa’s gifts that has always impressed me is her intuition in knowing when a patient needs extra support, quickly followed by her dedication in carving out time for that patient, no matter how busy her day is.
One example of this kind of patient-oriented care that infuses Melissa’s nursing practice was just the other day when a patient popped her head in the nursing office in tears. Melissa jumped up out of her chair, gave this patient a big hug, and sat down in a private room with her for the next 45 minutes, even though this was the start of the day (typically a time when you want to focus without interruptions). Another time, Melissa sat in the waiting room with a patient for about an hour to talk her through anxiety she was having surrounding radiation treatment.
Melissa is uniquely gifted in how she equips cancer patients (and she has seen thousands upon thousands since she started in Radiation Oncology in 1999) with a sense of peace in the midst of the alarm and disarray that their diagnosis has brought into their lives.
Melissa also fights hard to ensure her patients receive the best care possible and goes above and beyond to look after them. An example of this is when a patient receiving radiation therapy called her directly from home with some concerns. His condition did not warrant action at that time, but Melissa took the initiative to call him first thing the next morning to check on him. Based on his condition then, Melissa called the paramedics from her office to his house. Later that day, after the patient was taken to the Emergency Room and then Critical Care Unit, we discovered that she had quite possibly saved his life.
Melissa has worked in the Radiation Oncology for more than 20 years and has touched countless lives through supporting and coordinating care for EvergreenHealth’s oncology patient population and their family members.