“When my father was diagnosed with cancer, I was immediately put into caregivers’ shoes,” recalls Dora Wood, a medical assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center West Houston. “I felt the way they feel, and I realized that because of the training and experience MD Anderson gave me, I was able to be a big help to my family.”
A vital source of information for her family
As she helped her family through her father’s diagnosis and treatment, Wood realized this experience would shape her career.
Out of necessity, Wood quickly became a vital source of information, explaining to her family what was happening to her father and what they needed to do. She filled out forms, made appointments, and planned important next steps. Whenever a family member had a question, Wood was ready with an answer – or a promise to get one.
In many ways, this is what Wood does every day as a medical assistant. Her work is varied and always changing, from responding to record requests to guiding patients to exam rooms. Every day is different and challenging. But whether it’s logistical or administrative, Wood knows her work keeps things running smoothly and that she’s a valuable member of the care team.
Using her experience to provide relief and comfort
What she didn’t realize at the time of her father’s diagnosis is how this work makes her a unique asset to patients and their families.
“My father passing away was hard, but I also felt blessed,” Wood says. “The experience and knowledge I gained from this difficult time and from working at MD Anderson shaped my approach to work. I know firsthand that the faster I return a phone call or explain a process, that I can provide relief and comfort to patients and their families.”
Wood’s personal experience with cancer, as hard as it was, made her more present: “That was the role I played for my family, and it’s the role I need to play for my patients.”