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A Day in the Life: Sara Buckhorn, RN, St. Luke's Infusion Center

May 07, 2021

Sara Buckhorn knew at a young age that she wanted to help others. “In first grade, I told my mom I wanted to be a nurse,” she said. In college, she found her calling in oncology. “During undergrad, I was a patient care technician on an oncology floor,” she said. “Oncology is so special, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”

Sara joined the Infusion Center in St. Luke's Center for Cancer Care in 2015. Infusion nurses are an integral part of the healthcare team. These registered nurses specialize in administering medications and fluids via infusion, and they collaborate with physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists to ensure patients receive safe, quality infusion care. 

Sara begins her days around 7:30 a.m. She reviews the patient charts and makes sure medications are ready to go when the patient arrives. 

After she greets the patient in the waiting room, she takes them back for treatment. Here, Sara administers medication and fluids through an intravenous (IV) line, central line or venous access port. Treatments range from blood transfusions to IV antibiotics to chemotherapy. “Some treatments can be six or more hours; others take less than 20 minutes,” she said. She also monitors vital signs and provides educational materials tailored to each patient’s specific needs. 

Throughout treatment, she makes sure each patient is comfortable, offering drinks and light snacks, and provides comfort through conversation. In her role, Sara has the unique opportunity to work closely with patients and their families during what can be their most vulnerable or difficult times and treatments. “For our patients, it’s so important that we’re here for them and that they know we’re here for them,” she said.

Her role requires high levels of technical skill mixed with compassionate care. Over the years, she has developed a special bond with her patients. “You become a part of each other’s lives,” she said. “These patients are like my own family. It’s so rewarding to help someone.”

Now, more than 10 years into her nursing career, Sara still lights up about her chosen field. “I love to take care of people,” she said. “I love this job because it doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like family.”