Super SHEro - Mary Wojtal '12

Super SHEro - Mary Wojtal '12

Mary Wojtal, MSDA Class of 2012, is a Clinical Nurse II, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, working on a Women’s Health Oncology Floor treating patients with primary breast and gynecological cancers. In her role, Mary takes care of both medical and surgical patients as both a clinical nurse and a charge nurse.

Mary remarks that in the days of COVID19, her floor has transitioned into a floor for any non-COVID patients in the hospital. “We are working hard and learning quickly how to adapt to taking care of patients with primary head and neck, lung, brain, and a variety of other different cancers. We are actively swabbing patients for COVID every day.”

Mary notes that while she is used to managing the emotional stress of caring for patients with end stage cancer, COVID19 takes things to a different level, “this pandemic has been very difficult for me and my team. Every day I witness patients who are fighting the terrible disease that is cancer, and who are also completely alone during this time with no family members or visitors. My coworkers and I are working tirelessly to provide emotional support to these patients, but I often find myself at a loss for words. I am so used to forming close relationships with my patients and it is what I love most about my job, but connecting with these patients during this time is very difficult when we are covered from head to toe in masks, eye shields, gowns, and gloves. I just hope that I am providing comfort to these patients and that I am bringing them a sense of calm during their battle with cancer and in such an uncertain global climate.”

When asked what else she would like people to know, Mary makes a beautiful offer to anyone with a loved one at MSKCC. “Please spread the word and feel free to reach out to me if you or someone you know is admitted to Sloan Kettering and is unable to have visitors! Although I cannot provide any clinical information regarding these patients, I would be happy to stop by and offer a hand to hold or a friendly face. I can bring them cards or help them FaceTime their loved ones!”

In this time of isolation, where the most vulnerable among us, those admitted to the hospital, do not have family by their side, Mary is bringing comfort, compassion and connection – perhaps some of the most important medicine there is. Thank you for your service, Mary, and for your kindness and love for your patients

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