U.S. News and World Reports recently ranked Nebraska Medicine as one of the best hospitals in the country for its expertise in six adult specialties: cancer care, gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. This is the best performance for the hospital in terms of national recognition in these rankings.
In a series of blog posts, the experts from each nationally-ranked department will highlight what makes Nebraska Medicine a leader in providing care to its patients.
It’s gratifying to see U.S. News & World Reports lists Nebraska Medicine among the best hospitals in the nation for urology. The report ranks us 25th among the 1,570 programs evaluated in our specialty.
We’ve taken several steps to reach this high level of patient care. It’s critical for patients living in this region to have the best urological care close to home—so they don’t have to travel long distances.
Their lives are disrupted enough when they deal with urologic conditions, including cancer. We take pride in offering the best in minimally invasive urologic surgery—both standard laparoscopic and robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy.
In the past year, we’ve expanded our service significantly. Several urologists have joined our team, which allows us to treat a wider array of urological problems. Our surgeons are now performing procedures we could not offer in the past—like robotic cystectomy for bladder cancer, urethral reconstructive surgery and penile prosthetics.
You may have noticed that I mentioned “robotics” a few times here. Our patients have various misconceptions about robotic surgery.
What exactly is robotic surgery?
I’m sure our patients know there’s no robot in the surgical suite. But they may not realize that the “robotic” part involves the tools the surgeon uses.
Robotic tools are built to function like a surgeon’s hands. They allow us to perform very delicate surgery with far more precision. The surgeon’s skill and experience is still very important, and that’s a critical factor in this type of surgery. It’s our hands doing the surgery, aided by these very precise instruments.
I can explain it more when I see you, but you should know that robotic surgery helps ensure a very positive result—with far less blood loss, pain and recuperation time.
Lots of robotics experience
Of course, we perform the typical robotic prostatectomy to remove cancer from the prostate. But not many centers offer the more complex procedures—like radical cystectomy, which involves removing all or part of the bladder.
The average urologist performs only one cystectomy (maybe none) in a year’s time. At Nebraska Medicine, we do five of these complex procedures every month–a very high-volume center for bladder cancer and cystectomy. Only the top urology centers in the country are doing that. We’re proud to provide that level of expertise.
“Patient-friendly” is still a priority
With all this technology, we still pride ourselves on being friendly.
When a patient first calls our department, a “real person” will answer the phone. We don’t want people to navigate their way through lengthy phone menus. Our patients have enough stress in their lives after getting their diagnosis. We want to help relieve that stress.
We also make every effort to get a patient in to see us right away. Our patients shouldn’t have to wait long for appointments and surgery.
Our department has the exceptional nursing. Our nurses are great, very dedicated. Patients quickly form strong relationships with our nursing staff, and rely on them for support during difficult times. Our nurses take a very personal approach to patient care; they always put the patient first.
Our multidisciplinary oncology clinic is another step in that direction. Our patients can have all their appointments in one visit—radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, urologist. This makes it much easier for patients; they don’t have to travel around to get their questions answered.
With this approach, we coordinate the patient’s care more easily. We get all their physicians in the same room, which greatly improves the communication. We doctors learn a lot from each other—and as a result, our patients get better care.
We’ve also opened up new clinical trials to provide vaccine therapy for metastatic kidney cancer. The drug is in a Phase 3 trial, and results thus far are very optimistic.
These are all advantages when you are treated in an academic environment like Nebraska Medicine. And it’s all right here, close to home.