Margot Spies, BSN, RN, OCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator for the Cancer Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, retired this month after a 30-year career caring for patients in the Mid-Shore region.
“Margot was an integral part of creating the Cancer Center that we have today,” said Pam Addy, UM Shore Regional Health’s Vice President, Ambulatory Services. “She has been a role model for delivering compassionate care to our patients and her work will live on through her colleagues for many years to come. We are so grateful to Margot and we wish her the best in the next phase of her life.”
Prior to joining the Cancer Program, Spies worked on 2 East at Shore Medical Center at Easton for two years and for the Easton-based Gastroenterology/Endoscopy medical practice for eight years. During that time, the UM Shore Regional Cancer Center had been established and cancer care was rapidly evolving as an outpatient service, so Spies joined the Cancer Program team as a chemotherapy nurse. “Becoming an Oncology Nurse fit like a glove for me,” Spies said. “I have always treasured the ability to maintain relationships with patients throughout the continuum of care and beyond.”
Spies considers developing the Cancer Center’s Survivorship Program a privilege that allowed her to network with numerous cancer programs across the country. “What we know is that treatment is going to cause symptoms at the outset and throughout therapy. Meeting with patients in survivorship counseling recognizes their trajectory and assists with planning for recovery and healing, and for the establishment of their ‘new normal’ following the completion of cancer therapies,” she said.
Spies’ accomplishments in this regard earned her honors as a “Medical Professional Hometown Hero” at the Colors of Cancer Gala in 2019 organized by Eastern Shore volunteers for the American Cancer Society.
The tremendous progress made in treating cancer and improving survival rates in recent decades has been especially gratifying to Spies. “Targeted therapies, immunotherapy, genetic testing and proton therapies all have contributed to amazing changes in oncology care,” she said, adding that new pharmaceuticals to help control treatment symptoms such as nausea, anemia and neutropenia have improved the chemotherapy experience for many patients, enabling them to continue working and taking care of other day-to-day responsibilities.
One of Spies’ achievements was the establishment of a local chapter of the national Oncology Nursing Society. The chapter, which brings together nurses in the five-county area who care for oncology patients, has supported the development of working relationships between oncology nurses and home health and hospice nurses in the region.
Spies also appreciates the bonds formed with her co-workers and generations of patients. “I’m always delighted when people walk up to me and remember our time together around their chemotherapy chair,” she said. “I think the greatest reward is the ability to pass along my experience, things that have worked well and those things that do not.”
In her retirement from nursing, Spies looks forward to enjoying time with her family and working for the family business, Triple Creek Winery in Cordova.
About University of Maryland Shore Regional Health
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.
About the University of Maryland Medical System
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery and research to the care we provide and educating the state’s future physician and health care professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore professional schools (Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry) in Baltimore. As one of the largest private employers in the State, the health system’s more than 29,500 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations, including 13 hospitals and 9 University of Maryland Urgent Care centers. The UMMS flagship academic campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialized care. Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the State. For more information, visit www.umms.org.