Shattering myths, offering medical advice, and advocating for patients
Two Harvard nurses explain how they care for men with prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction — and their families
When it comes to prostate problems, men turn to internists, urologists, and other specialists for reliable information about the disorder and treatment. But as any longtime patient will tell you, the help they receive from nurses is just as valuable. Nurses act as advisors and educators, dispelling myths and helping overwhelmed patients sort through treatment options. They help patients and their families cope with devastating diagnoses, as well as therapies that can erode quality of life. And nurses are often the first — and last — ones to see a patient during a doctor's visit, meaning that they're likely to handle some big issues as well as the small questions that the patient forgot to ask the doctor.
Recognizing that nurses and doctors approach medicine from differing though complementary viewpoints, the editors of Perspectives invited two nurses who practice with Harvard-affiliated physicians to talk about the role they play in caring for patients with prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction (ED), conditions that are often related. The nurses are