Looking Beyond the Doctor’s Office—The Role of an MS Nurse
For people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease that includes a range of physical and emotional symptoms, it is critical to have a strong support system as well as a healthcare team that delivers quality and comprehensive care. Living with MS can be challenging—the disease impacts all individuals differently and is often accompanied by debilitating symptoms that can impede daily life. For many who live with this disease, an MS nurse is a pivotal member of their healthcare team, whose support extends beyond treatment to also provide the education, support and counseling they and their families need.
As a nurse specializing in MS, Denise Chicoine understands that caring for this chronic disease requires going beyond managing the physical symptoms—it means providing lifelong support through all the milestones of this disease. Denise works for MS One to One, a complimentary patient support program created by Sanofi Genzyme that is available for all people at any stage of their MS journey. As an MS One to One nurse, Denise works to connect directly with people living with MS to provide personal support and advice about how to manage this disease through one-on-one conversations, in an effort to help them navigate their care and focus on accomplishing the things that they truly want.
“All people living with MS can benefit from some type of support. Through the MS One to One program, I am able to provide tips and resources that are truly relevant to each individual,” Denise says. “Anyone living with MS can visit the MS One to One website or call one of our nurses to talk about their disease or just to hear a friendly voice.”
MS One to One is available to help people living with MS think beyond their disease and concentrate on the aspects of their lives that are truly important to them. Through the “It’s My Turn, MS” campaign on the MS One to One website, people living with MS are encouraged to make a statement and demand more, so they can do more of what they want every day.
Throughout the month of May, Denise and others from the MS community from around the globe are coming together to raise awareness for MS—in support of World MS Day (May 25th) and beyond. MS impacts approximately 2.5 million people worldwide. For those who are living with MS or caring for a loved one with MS, Denise shares some words of advice:
Knowledge is power—Take time to educate yourself about the disease and treatment options. Talk with a healthcare professional and others who have MS. Check out online resources from credible sources, such as MS advocacy groups and MS One to One at www.msonetoone.com. On the website, you can also find out more about the MS One to One program and register to be contacted by an MS One to One nurse. For ongoing updates about MS One to One, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/msonetoone.
Prepare for doctor visits in advance—In order to make the most of your appointments, make sure to prepare in advance. Keep a symptom diary and log questions or concerns as they come up. Give a copy to your nurse for your medical records. On the MS One to One website there are also helpful tools, such as a discussion guide and symptom tracker, to help with some of these conversations.
Connect with the MS community—The MS community is one of the strongest and most supportive groups, both locally and nationally, and is incredibly welcoming. Get online and find your local National Multiple Sclerosis Society chapter, and don’t be shy about attending meetings and events! These groups are eager to help people living with MS and their care partners navigate the complex disease landscape.
After more than 30 years working as a nurse, Denise has seen the positive impact that a strong support network and program like MS One to One can have. She adds, “What I love most about my job is that I never know where my day will take me. It may start off with an inquiry about new symptoms someone is experiencing and end with providing guidance on how to get more information about a relapsing MS treatment option. But no matter what kinds of questions I receive, what I do know is that I get to help people every day. The MS One to One program can be an invaluable part of people’s MS experience, and I am proud to be part of something that enables me to help ease the minds of people living with MS so they can just focus on feeling better.”
For more information and resources, visit www.msonetoone.com .