In the second annual celebration of oncology nurses, UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center recognized Smita Ranjan, APRN, as the Oncology Nurse of the Year and was given the Shapira Nursing Excellence Award.
Smita is a medical oncology nurse practitioner at Brown Cancer Center and lung screening clinical program director. She started out more than 22 years ago and worked at UofL Health – UofL Hospital on 6S (inpatient oncology unit).
The award is named after Harry and Judy Shapira. The late Harry Shapira was a patient at the Brown Cancer Center and the couple was very grateful for the care he received, especially from the nurses. They established a gift fund and endowment to promote continuing education opportunities for oncology nurses at the cancer center.
In the nomination by her peers, Smita was described as “an oncology expert and a joy to work with.”
Dr. Jason Chesney, chief administrative officer of the Brown Cancer Center, said one of the things that makes the cancer center so great is the nurses who work there. He spoke on the expansion of the cancer center presence at Medical Center Northeast and the impact UofL Health nurses are having outside of the downtown medical campus area.
“I have patients who decide to receive treatment at Medical Center Northeast ask me ‘Will my nurse be there?’” said Dr. Chesney. “You all make the experience for them.”
Shari Kretzschmer, chief nursing officer for UofL Health, spoke to the importance of the frontline nurse, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She went on to say how Oncology nurses have a special opportunity to build bonds with patients and make connections that last a lifetime.
“You become part of the patient’s treatment plan. You develop rapport with them, and they trust you,” said Shari.
The Oncology Nursing Celebration was organized by Cathy Ollom, director of Medical Oncology at the Brown Cancer Center.