In an inaugural celebration of oncology nurses, UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center recognized Sandy Lloyd, RN, BSN, OCN, as the Oncology Nurse of the Year and was given the Shapira Nursing Award. Jackie Ray, RN, OCN, and Beth Small, RN, BSN, OCN, were named runners-up.
Sandy is an RN Clinician in Medical Oncology, Jackie works in Radiation Oncology, and Small is an RN Clinician and EMR Specialist in Medical Oncology.
The award is named after Harry and Judy Shapira. The late Harry Shapira was a patient at UofL 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 UofL Brown Cancer Center.
In her nomination, Sandy was described as the “gold standard.” “Whenever her name is mentioned, people immediately smile and always have a kind word to describe her. She is always willing to orient new employees and you can trust that she will welcome them with a smile. She is always pleasant and cheerful, and her positivity and warm demeanor make it easy for patients to relax. She is not only compassionate, but very organized as well. You can be sure that every aspect of her patients’ care is addressed.”
Sonya Hardin, dean of UofL’s School of Nursing, said cancer patients are survivors from the moment of diagnosis. They often may not feel like it, so “it’s up to oncology nurses to help make that happen in the eyes of those diagnosed.”
Hardin encouraged nurses to not let compassion fatigue wear them down. “Think about the good things you do every day and push aside the difficult things. Look at every person as a survivor. They look to you for that inspiration.”
Hardin hopes to develop an opportunity for nursing students to rotate through UofL Brown Cancer Center and learn what it’s like to work in oncology.
Dr. Jason Chesney, director of UofL Brown Cancer Center, said, “You are part of a team that supports patients with a challenging and terrifying diagnosis. You provide compassion, you’re dedicated to survival and the patient experience, and you become our patients’ friends and advocates.”
He said he “knows plenty of nurses who would make great doctors if they wanted to, but he doesn’t know many doctors who would make great nurses. It’s the nurses who make the patient experience special.”
The Oncology Nursing Celebration was organized by Angie Malone, director of medical oncology and infusion services at UofL Brown Cancer Center.