Marlene McGregory, R.N, BSN, CCRP has been a nurse for 40 years. She graduated with a BSN from Holy Family University and a Masters Certificate in Clinical Research Operations from LaSalle University and has held positions in both Pharma and as a Research Manager. She is an active member of both DNA and SOCRA.
- Please tell us about what you do day to day and what made you choose nursing as a career.
My day to day responsibilities are never the same. I cover both clinical and research responsibilities so I must be very flexible. There is a wealth of patient experiences and contacts during the day. I have officially become the “Itch Nurse” at Temple.
I chose to be a nurse after I was first a patient. At 17, I had extensive surgery to remove a bone tumor from my left leg. My nurses were so supportive. To be able to sincerely help a patient is the best feeling ever. I am now a nurse for 40 years.
- Can you tell us more about the Temple Itch Center and its mission?
Our mission at Temple Itch Center is to provide the highest level of care while also furthering the field of Dermatology through outstanding clinical, translational and basic science research. We hope to become the leader in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic itch, eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, chronic idiopathic urticaria, prurigo nodularis, autoimmune disease of the skin, ethnic skin disorders, skin cancers, disorders of the hair, and wound healing.
- You encounter patients suffering from itch on a daily basis-what are some of the common causes for itch that you see most often?
There are many reasons patients suffer from Chronic itch including eczema, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and chronic urticaria which are probably the most common. We see many cases of neuropathic itch that were misdiagnosed. The list goes on forever!
We see patients from all walks of life here, each with a different story with many different diagnoses joined by the common link of Chronic Itching.
- We know that skin disease can have debilitating effects on a person’s quality of life. What are some of the complaints that you hear?
Patients often complain about lack of sleep. Often they are awake and scratching. If we can get this under control, their quality of life improves greatly. Chronic itch affects so many aspects of their lives. Their body image is severely altered. They feel embarrassed and out of control. Often they hide under clothes and express feelings of loneliness and feeling ugly.
In addition to traditional medical treatments, patients sometimes try acupuncture, meditation, muscle relaxation techniques, and support groups (We have an Eczema School here)
- What are some common misconceptions about itch and the way it affects people?
Often people think that the patient can control the itching and just tell them to stop. Another common misconception is that the patient is contagious or dirty. This just adds to the patient’s already low self esteem.
- Can you offer any tips for how someone should prepare for a successful doctor’s visit?
It would be important for the patient to bring either a medication list or their medications with them. Also to write any questions down that they would like to ask and always any dermatology records or referrals they may have available. It is also helpful to bring a friend or family member.
- You are on the forefront of research at Temple Itch Center. What are some new breakthroughs or areas where you see a silver lining for people who suffer from itch?
We have completed our first Pharma study with a Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonist that proved helpful to the study subjects. Future studies includes use of Nalbuphine for chronic itching in Prurigo patients, also use of IL13 inhibitor and Kappa Opoid receptor agonists to control itching. There is a lot of ongoing interest from Pharma in this area of research.
Safe in the Sun
“Wear a beach cover-up when headed for an all-day outing in the sun. I actually love the sun shirts that have SPF woven into the fabric.” – Dr. Vishakha Gigler
“The basic difference between a cream and a lotion is that cream is thicker. This allows for better emollition and hydration.” – Dr. Vishakha Gigler