Employee Voices

Infusing a New Perspective on Patient Care

Ryan Walls’ experience as both an infusion nurse and patient fuels her passion for helping others receive the treatment they need.

Read time: 4.5 minutes

Ryan Walls discovered her inspiration for nursing at an early age. When her younger brother was hospitalized due to complications from Type 1 diabetes, she was particularly impressed by the personal touch his nurses provided him. They were empathetic. Knowledgeable. Attuned to the little things.

“I watched the way they cared for him,” she says. “And I decided I wanted to help someone else’s little brother like that.”

When Ryan discovered the infusion specialty, she knew she had found her calling. Infusion nurses are involved in every aspect of patient care, both clinical and personal. On a day-to-day basis, they administer medications, provide education to patients and caregivers, monitor for side effects, and track progress over time. But they’re also keenly attuned to the details that matter most – whether it's discovering underlying conditions or remembering the name of a patient’s pet.

Her passion for the specialty is what ultimately led her to pursue a fulfilling career at Intrafusion by McKesson. But her path to where she is today wasn’t always certain.

An Infusion Nurse Becomes the Patient

As an infusion nurse, Ryan treated a variety of patients with chronic and acute conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, gastrointestinal or neurological disorders, and many others. She was always ready to help them through any challenges they were facing.

“Infusion nurses see patients for several hours at a time on an ongoing basis, so we build very deep relationships with them,” she explains. “I knew my patients so well, I could tell by their gait when they walked down the hall if something was off that day.”

But not long after she began nursing, Ryan was the one who began feeling “off.” After seeking care for her symptoms, 24-year-old Ryan was diagnosed with leukemia.

That’s when the dedicated nurse became an infusion patient herself. Over the next nine months, she was the one sitting in the infusion chair to receive immunotherapy treatment. She depended on other nurses to do things that were second nature to her, such as inserting an intravenous catheter and changing the dressing on her wound. And, she relied on the compassion of nurses to help her navigate the long and difficult journey to recovery.

Having cancer so young changed my outlook on life,” she says. “What helped me was the love and support I received from family and friends, and the great group of nurses who looked out for me.”

Living Her Purpose at McKesson

Once she was healthy enough to return to nursing, Ryan was more determined than ever to make a difference for patients. That passion is what led her to join Intrafusion in 2013. Today, the company provides infusion management services at sites across the U.S., delivering more than 75,000 specialty infusion therapies to patients every year.

Infusing a New Perspective Quote

Intrafusion also focuses on what’s best for patient outcomes. The company helps doctors establish and manage infusion clinics right inside their offices, which not only makes it easier for physicians to follow their patients’ care more closely, but also provides patients with a familiar and convenient treatment location, particularly for those who live in rural or underserved areas.

“Intrafusion supports community practices in providing infusion therapy in the practice setting, saving patients the stress of traveling to an infusion center or hospital, so they can focus on getting better,” she says. “It helps them to know their doctor is right there, and there are skilled and compassionate nurses to care for them.”

While many Intrafusion nurses stay in one location, Ryan welcomed the opportunity to go where she was most needed, traveling to various locations around the country. No matter where she was, she found that her own experience helped her relate to patients’ needs differently.

“As a patient, I gained perspective on the range of emotions that come with treatment,” she says. “Not all infusion patients have cancer. Many have life-changing, chronic illnesses that can be scary and difficult to cope with.”

As an avid dancer and former instructor, she also brought her dance movements, along with her authentic and upbeat personality, to every infusion suite.

“I never wanted patients to dread treatment,” she says. “I wanted to create a safe, comfortable and positive environment for them.”

Working across many Intrafusion sites gave her a unique perspective of various clinic operations and needs – one that ultimately allowed her to apply for a leadership role. In 2013, Ryan was promoted to clinical operations manager, where she shared her clinical expertise and hard-earned wisdom with a team of 35 Intrafusion nurses. And in 2021, she took on a new challenge as executive director of business development. In her current role, she works closely with physicians around the country to convert or establish Intrafusion sites in their practices.

While Ryan is no longer treating infusion patients, she relishes the impact she’s able to make on an even greater number of people.

“I’m proud to work for a company that doctors trust,” she says. “We are helping to take care of their practice and help many patients access the medications and care that they need. That confidence in our team is something I don’t take lightly.”