APP Member Feature Q&A with Sarah Irish, FNP-BC, AOCNP
Sarah Irish, FNP-BC, AOCNP, currently works in the outpatient Gynecologic Oncology clinic for Baystate Health System in Springfield, MA. She has worked in the outpatient clinic for four years, having previously worked for same employer as a nurse on a med-surg floor and took care of post-op gyn oncology patients for nine years.
During that time, Sarah developed an interest in this specialty, and upon graduating from NP school, the position became available and she eagerly applied. Sarah stated “I truly never realized how much I would love working in the gyn oncology department and how fulfilling a career it would be. I cannot imagine doing anything else at this point in my life!”
SGO invited Sarah to share more of her story and her perspective on being an Advanced Practice Provider (APP) in the gyn onc setting in the following Q&A.
What is your practice setting and typical patient population?
I work in the outpatient clinic Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. My typical schedule includes a variety of post op visits, surveillance visits for all types of cancer, chemotherapy education, prechemotherapy assessment visits, wound care, and urgent sick visits. On a typical day I will see anywhere from 12-16 patients. I am the only advanced practice provider in our clinic and there are three female gynecologic oncologists.
When did you get involved with SGO and how did you become aware of the organization?
I became involved with SGO shortly after joining the gyn onc practice, as my mentor strongly encouraged me to join a professional organization. I quickly learned how valuable it was to be a member of a national organization in which I could interact with other professionals who share similar interests and career goals.
Why did you decide to join the APP Committee?
I have always enjoyed being involved in committees and feel that it gives me an opportunity to stay connected. At the time I decided to join the APP committee, I was looking for something more in my career and wanting to branch out and connect with others. I feel that I am finally comfortable in my professional role and now I am striving to grow and make improvements in my practice.
How has SGO influenced you as an APP?
What I value most from being involved in the SGO is the opportunity to collaborate with other APPs in gynecologic oncology. This has really allowed me to improve my practice over the years while also creating relationships with others in the same medical field. Additionally, the educational opportunities between the conferences and SGO ConnectEd have been invaluable in my ongoing learning.
What is one (or more) thing that you learned at this year’s SGO Allied Health Professionals Meeting that you were excited to bring back or implement in your own practice?
One of my favorite things to discuss at the Allied Health meeting is chemotherapy side effect management. Every practice/institution has different medications and protocols that they utilize, and I have been able to incorporate some changes into my practice that has been beneficial for the patients. Another presentation that I found extremely useful was the ostomy care discussion. I find that there is a gray area re: management that teeters between our practice and colorectal and having information re: appropriate products and tools to help the patient was very helpful. I always look forward to the Allied Health Meeting and being a part of planning it was something I truly enjoyed this year and hope to do again!
Sarah lives in western Massachusetts, an area where she has lived her whole life. She graduated from Elms College in Chicopee, MA in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and in 2017 with her Doctor of Nursing Practice. Sarah lives at home with her husband, four daughters and dog. After a long day at work, Sarah enjoys quiet time in the evenings with her family. Their favorite thing to do over dinner is go around the table and discuss the best and worst part of each of their days. On weekends together, they enjoy hiking, spending time outdoors, and exploring new local places. Some of the top destinations Sarah hopes to visit someday are Scotland, Ireland and Greece.