Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Staff Snapshot

Genetic counselor, Gayun Chan-Smutko

Julia Hincman-Francavilla, MS, RD, LDN

Julia Hincman-Francavilla, MS, RD, LDN
Oncology Nutritionist
Years at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center: Almost 2 years

What influenced your decision to become a healthcare worker?Like many people, I actually dislike going to doctor's appointments or going to the hospital. However, I have always appreciated the healthcare workers who try to make patients feel comfortable, make things easier, or those who simply smile. That is what I try to do. I try to smile, talk about what most people can relate to – food – and reassure patients and family member that they have support from my co-worker and myself with any nutrition-related issues or questions.

What drew you to the Cancer Center?The fact that the Cancer Center is built with amazing people who work very well together, and are extremely kind to patients, family members, and co-workers makes it a very special place to work. I love how everyone here will do so much to make every person feel at home.

What is your favorite part of working here?Actually seeing and feeling that I am making an impact adds tremendously to the genuine fact that I love to work with people. Whether I am recommending changes in a diet or enteral nutrition regimen to prevent discomfort or promote the improvement of nutrition status through weight maintenance, gain or loss, or simply listening to a patient express anxiety about their situation, I know that I am making a difference. I picture myself in their shoes and I know it would make a difference to me.

Do you have any advice for those dealing with cancer or their caregivers/loved ones?If you become overwhelmed or feel alone, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Be comforted by this fact: there are so many health care workers in the Cancer Center than can help. There is always a person who is willing to listen, talk, give nutrition advice (or any other specialty advice), massage, or just smile and chat with you. Please use us; we are here to help.

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