The Urologic Oncology Team at UCSF
UCSF takes a team approach to the care of our patients. Depending on the nature of your appointment, you will be seen by a variety of doctors and nurses working collaboratively to provide the best possible care. This approach allows physicians to focus on more difficult problems and procedures while patients benefit from the expertise of nursing professionals who are expert in managing more routine care.
A significant amount of thought is given to you and your case prior to your first appointment. In many, but not all instances, your case is reviewed by both a physician and the nurse navigator (see below) before the appointment is made.
Here is an introduction to some of the health professionals on your care team:
All attending physicians at UCSF are members of the faculty of the UCSF Medical School and most are involved in patient oriented research at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. All are board-certified in their areas of specialization.
- Urologic oncologists
These doctors focus on management of localized or locally advanced urologic cancers. They use surgery (open, laparoscopic, robot-assisted, or endoscopic, as appropriate) and energy-ablative treatments to treat these cancers, and use active surveillance for low-risk tumors which do not need immediate treatment.
- Radiation oncologists
These doctors provide therapies such as external beam radiation and internal implantation of radioactive “seeds” (brachytherapy).
- Genitourinary medical oncologists
These doctors are trained in internal medicine and oncology. They are responsible for hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, immune-based therapy and targeted therapies.
You may also be treated by doctors who are completing additional training:
Fellows have completed medical school and residency. They are pursuing advanced specialty training in urologic oncology or medical oncology. They participate in supervised patient care while completing this training.
Residents have completed medical school and are licensed physicians. They are training to become specialists in internal medicine, radiation oncology or urology. They participate in supervised patient care while completing this training.
- Nurse practitioner (NP)
A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who has completed graduate level training (either master’s or doctorate), and who specializes in a particular area of health care. All of the NPs practicing in our clinics are specifically focused on genitourinary cancers and function as independent practitioners who work collaboratively with the physician. Similar to a physician, the NP is qualified to make treatment decisions, order and interpret tests, deliver treatments and perform some procedures. NPs are also involved in discussing clinical trial options.
NURSING SUPPORT STAFF
Highly trained and experienced nurses are a vital part of the UCSF urology team. They perform routine checkups and may see patients after surgery to monitor recovery. If you have problems or concerns during or after your treatment, nurses can help assess your situation over the phone or by email. Nurses help ensure that you use your medications properly and help you monitor any side effects.
Types of nurses in our practice
- Registered nurse (RN)
All the RNs in our practice work specifically in oncology and urologic cancer. When a phone call is made to the clinic regarding a clinical concern, a RN is the first clinician to take the call.
- Nurse navigator
The nurse navigator is a unique service offered by UCSF. They guide your entry into the program, to assure your case is managed in the most efficient and comprehensive manner. They make sure that appropriate referral documents and records are assembled and that you are directed to the services you need.
Practice Assistants work with the providers on preparing the scheduling of your initial visit, follow up testing and visits. They are also responsible for obtaining your medical records and test results, as well as insurance authorizations for visits, medications and tests.
The medical/HA assistants are trained clinical staff who have a pivotal role in assisting setting up the Patient’s visit for the Provider. In addition to the vital signs process that is done before the visit, the Medical Assistant also asks a number of specific questions based on the type of visit the patient is here for & then documents the answers in the EMR (electronic medical record) so the Provider can review during the visit. The Medical Assistants also set up & then clean up each room a patient is seen in for routine visits or for in-practice procedures.
About your appointments
You will meet a health care provider during your first appointment. Which specialist you meet depends partly on who referred you and the review of your case by a health care provider and nurse navigator. Aspects of your unique medical situation may also determine which type of specialist you meet with first. A fellow or resident doctor may also be involved with you on this visit.
At each appointment, a medical assistant will get you situated in the exam room. They may take your temperature and blood pressure.
Subsequent routine appointments are usually conducted by our nurse practitioners.
Research at UCSF Urologic Oncology
UCSF has a large research program dedicated to improving cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Research is interwoven with everyday clinical care at UCSF, and many patients who come to our clinic will be offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial (research study). You will never be enrolled in a research program or be a research subject unless you give expressed written consent. Your questions about research and whether your situation qualifies for participation in study are always welcome.
If you are enrolled in a clinical trial or a study, you may be seen periodically by a clinical research associate (CRA) or clinical research coordinator (CRC). These professionals help gather data for research projects.