UM Shore Regional Health Oncology Nurse Navigator Retires After 30 Years of Patient Care
Margot Spies, BSN, RN, OCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator for the Cancer Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, retired this month after a 30-year career caring for patients in the Mid-Shore region.
"Margot was an integral part of creating the Cancer Center that we have today," said Pam Addy, UM Shore Regional Health's Vice President, Ambulatory Services. "She has been a role model for delivering compassionate care to our patients and her work will live on through her colleagues for many years to come. We are so grateful to Margot and we wish her the best in the next phase of her life."
Prior to joining the Cancer Program, Spies worked on 2 East at Shore Medical Center at Easton for two years and for the Easton-based Gastroenterology/Endoscopy medical practice for eight years. During that time, the UM Shore Regional Cancer Center had been established and cancer care was rapidly evolving as an outpatient service, so Spies joined the Cancer Program team as a chemotherapy nurse. "Becoming an Oncology Nurse fit like a glove for me," Spies said. "I have always treasured the ability to maintain relationships with patients throughout the continuum of care and beyond."
Spies considers developing the Cancer Center's Survivorship Program a privilege that allowed her to network with numerous cancer programs across the country. "What we know is that treatment is going to cause symptoms at the outset and throughout therapy. Meeting with patients in survivorship counseling recognizes their trajectory and assists with planning for recovery and healing, and for the establishment of their 'new normal' following the completion of cancer therapies," she said.
Spies' accomplishments in this regard earned her honors as a "Medical Professional Hometown Hero" at the Colors of Cancer Gala in 2019 organized by Eastern Shore volunteers for the American Cancer Society.
The tremendous progress made in treating cancer and improving survival rates in recent decades has been especially gratifying to Spies. "Targeted therapies, immunotherapy, genetic testing and proton therapies all have contributed to amazing changes in oncology care," she said, adding that new pharmaceuticals to help control treatment symptoms such as nausea, anemia and neutropenia have improved the chemotherapy experience for many patients, enabling them to continue working and taking care of other day-to-day responsibilities.
One of Spies' achievements was the establishment of a local chapter of the national Oncology Nursing Society. The chapter, which brings together nurses in the five-county area who care for oncology patients, has supported the development of working relationships between oncology nurses and home health and hospice nurses in the region.
Spies also appreciates the bonds formed with her co-workers and generations of patients. "I'm always delighted when people walk up to me and remember our time together around their chemotherapy chair," she said. "I think the greatest reward is the ability to pass along my experience, things that have worked well and those things that do not."
In her retirement from nursing, Spies looks forward to enjoying time with her family and working for the family business, Triple Creek Winery in Cordova.