A desire to give back has led breast cancer survivor Regina Jones to volunteer at the N.C. Cancer Hospital, UNC Lineberger’s clinical home. Jones is a member of the Patient & Family Advisory Council, which is composed of patients, family members, survivors, caregivers and staff who work together to ensure that patients receive the highest level of care.
Regina Jones volunteers at the N.C. Cancer Hospital, UNC Lineberger’s clinical home, as a PFAC member.
The PFAC is focused on ensuring patients and families are involved in care decisions and that their input is helping shape a range of initiatives, including patient education, quality improvement projects, and the development of new programs.
We spoke with Jones to learn more about her and what led her to join PFAC.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your cancer experience?
“I was diagnosed in 2008 with stage 2 breast cancer. My fiancé – who is now my husband – and I were in the process of planning our wedding. We got married on April 3 and I was on the table on April 19. I lived in Charlotte and he lived in Durham at the time, so I was moving, getting married, and dealing with cancer all at the same time. We went through it all together, and now we have beautiful 15-month-old twin daughters. Now I’m focusing on giving back by volunteering.”
In your own words, what is PFAC’s mission?
“I feel our mission is to get the patient voice out there and collaborate with physicians. I had a wonderful experience at the N.C. Cancer Hospital with my nurses and doctors—and my husband was a true advocate of my care. So I feel my job now is to advocate for other patients. I believe this is the way we can have a better understanding of cancer care before, during and after treatment.”
Are there any current initiatives PFAC is working on now you’d like to highlight?
“Right now, we’re working on the conversations that take place between doctors and their patients. We’re working with a doctor who has dealt with cancer personally and professionally, so he’s seen both sides. He’s able to reach out to other physicians and say, ‘We need to do more to communicate with patients and get to know them as individuals.’ The doctors at the N.C. Cancer Hospital are great at what they do, but we can always improve upon creating connections.”
If someone is interested in joining PFAC but is hesitant about time commitment, what advice would you give them?
“PFAC has three different levels of participation available. We’ve now opened the group up where you can participate online, because some of our members live so far away from the hospital. You can also come in and directly meet with everyone or you can give just half of your time. We try to make it convenient for everyone to get involved.”