Special Honors: Palliative and Hospice Nurse goes to Patrick Coyne Photo by JayPaul
As clinical director of the Palliative Care Program at VCU Massey Cancer Center, Patrick Coyne meets people who, facing a life-threatening disease or condition, find their lives at a crossroads. His goal is to help them manage their pain and symptoms. "I get to hear about their legacies and what they want to accomplish," he says. "They give me more than I give them."
A world-renowned pain specialist, Coyne co-founded Massey's Palliative Care Program more than 10 years ago and continues to focus on transforming the standards of palliative care through clinical practice, education and research. Last October, he was named one of the 30 most influential leaders in hospice and palliative medicine by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
"Pat is a leader in his field," says Dr. Julie Mayglothling, associate professor in the VCU Department of Surgery. "He is always available to talk to families and patients about their wishes and help us identify better ways to control [patients'] symptoms. Having an individual like this as part of our VCU team is priceless."
Coyne assesses patients to determine the best intervention. "I need to understand where they are in the disease and the things they want to accomplish," he says, adding that some patients will live for several years. "If I get them feeling better, they will live until they die, and they will enjoy life."
Dr. Keyur Shah, assistant professor in the VCU Pauley Heart Center, agrees: "He has been instrumental in helping us care for our dying and end-stage heart patients."
Coyne excels in emergency and trauma situations, when families are often struck by tragedy without warning, says Mayglothling. "He has an ability to walk families through incredibly difficult decision-making and coping experiences."
He says he hopes that his work has a lasting impact on patients and their families. "I get to work with great people every day and meet wonderful people every day. I learn something every day," Coyne says. "Most days I do something good for people and they feel better, and that is important." —Joan Tupponce