Turning Sour into Sweet with a Simple Gesture

Nurse Laurie DeRuosi, NP, with candy
Laurie DeRuosi, NP

Thanks to a thoughtful nurse practitioner, biopsy patients can end each visit with a sweet treat.

Going in for a mammogram or breast biopsy isn’t the most relaxing experience; in fact, it can be stressful and overwhelming, particularly for those with a family history of breast cancer. The visit is made a little sweeter, however, when Laurie DeRuosi, NP, hands you a piece of chocolate when it’s over.

After years of working in health care, DeRuosi understands the value of encouragement and compassion in a medical environment. She got the idea from a physician she once worked with in Jamestown. “He had a way of making everyone feel special," says DeRuosi. "One thing he did frequently was personally say hello to each staff member and give them a piece of candy. This little gesture was all that was needed to make a bad day better. I have never forgotten how special that simple gesture made me feel."

For many years now, it has been her personal practice to give chocolates to breast biopsy patients following the procedure. This simple act of kindness has been overwhelmingly embraced by patients at the Anne C. Pappas Center for Breast Imaging. Patients returning for additional biopsies, while still anxious, look forward to their post-procedure treat and feel comforted knowing the staff cares about their experience. Many patients who return for imaging will bring DeRuosi chocolate to pay it forward, so that the next nervous patient will be rewarded with a treat after their biopsy.

When she joined the staff at Anne C. Pappas Center, DeRuosi knew that patients relied on her and her colleagues to help them navigate stressful situations as they screened for breast cancer. “We’re well known for our expertise, as well as our hugs, and we are open to any action that can give comfort to our patients,” she says of the team at the breast imaging center.

These small acts of compassion work toward the team’s goal of making patients feel special, as well as Lifespan’s mission: Delivering health with care.