Cancer Care and Healing for the Caregiver Focus of Visiting Speaker

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lewis is available for interviews during the reception, Sept. 25, from 4:30-5 p.m. at the College of Nursing campus. Complete information is available at

SPOKANE, Wash. — Cancer care and healing for those caring for a cancer patient are the subject of two separate presentations by international nursing scholar and cancer expert Dr. Frances Marcus Lewis, the featured speaker for the 2001 Cleveland Visiting Scholar events hosted by the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/Washington State University College of Nursing, Sept. 25-26, in Spokane.

The 5:30-7 p.m. program on Sept. 25 is planned for the College of Nursing Campus, 2917 W. Fort George Wright Drive, and is open to the public without charge. Lewis will discuss “Smoothing out the Ride: Healing the Family During Cancer Care.”

The 7:30-9 a.m. program on Sept. 26 is planned for Sacred Heart Medical Center, Providence Auditorium, located at 20 W. Ninth, and is for clinical health care professionals. Lewis will discuss “Soothing the Spirit Along the Way: Self-Care and Healing for the Staff.”

Lewis’ research focuses on how life threatening chronic illness impacts the family, including school age and adolescent children. Cancer is an illness that invades the patient and family with equal intensity, said Lewis, a University of Washington professor of Family and Child Nursing.

“Nurses and physicians care deeply about family members of chronically ill patients,” she said. “Sometimes they are not educated to know how to help themselves and those surrounding the cancer patient.”

As a result of more than two decades of work in this area, Lewis has developed concrete, operationalized ways of helping families and caregivers deal with cancer care and the emotional and physical toll the illness can take on those supporting the patient.

One in four persons in the U.S. has a family member affected by cancer. As the nation’s largest health care profession, nurses are essential to quality medical and health care delivery. Nurses also deliver the majority of long-term patient care.

“The family and caregivers, not simply the patient, should be the focus of supportive care throughout the term of the illness,” said Lewis. “We must continue to find ways to protect all those involved in the cancer experience.”

Lewis is a member of the Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing. She is a noted evaluation methodologist and an expert in health behavior theory. She is engaged as a technical consultant in the Ukraine for the training of physicians and nurses and the provision of behavioral interventions for women with breast cancer.

Northwest TeleHealth, a unique and progressive telemedicine network, will broadcast Lewis’ presentations to numerous health care and hospital sites throughout the state. The presentations also will be broadcast to WSU’s branch campus sites via the interactive Washington Higher Education Telecommunications System.

This is the fourth year for the annual Cleveland Visiting Scholar program, which began in 1998 to honor Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing Dean Emeritus, Dr. Thelma Cleveland.

Established in 1968, the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing is the nation’s first, oldest and most comprehensive nursing education consortium. The College of Nursing offers baccalaureate, graduate and professional development course work to nursing students enrolled through its four consortium partners, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Washington State University and Whitworth College. Each year, the College educates more than 550 graduate and upper-division undergraduate students and prepares more entry-level nurses than any other educational institution in the state.

For more information about the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing, visit the Web site at