The Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship (JONS) and its sister publication The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA are delighted to announce Laura Mulderrig, BSN, RN, OCN, as the 2017 Oncology Nurse Excellence (ONE) Award winner!
In front of an enthusiastic audience of nearly 1000 peers and colleagues at the Eighth Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference, Ms Mulderrig was presented the ONE Award by the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators Cofounder and Program Director Lillie D. Shockney, who articulated the importance of recognizing those in the field exemplifying excellence in oncology nursing.
After receiving the ONE Award, Ms Mulderrig, a nurse in the clinical research unit at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA, was asked what she communicates to her patients at their first encounter. Her response was immediate, conveyed with conviction, and certainly a sentiment to which all in the field should aspire.
“Hope is what I try to give them,” she said. “When a patient is first diagnosed and they come to us with such fear in their eyes, I let them know that there is hope. I tell them that we’ve had amazing drugs and therapies developed over the years that are extending life and in some cases curing the cancer. I encourage them not to give up and not to think a clinical trial is their last hope. It’s not. It could be their first hope. That’s what makes my work in the clinical research unit so special—it gives me the ability to say ‘Look at these patients, 4, 5, 6 years out from diagnosis, working still, going on vacation, living their life like they should be. Cancer is not defining them.’”
Uniquely, Ms Mulderrig was not nominated for the ONE Award by a colleague but by one of her patients, Nancy. Nancy’s connection to Ms Mulderrig is strong, and the positive impact the relationship has had in Nancy’s life is undeniable. The relationships that develop between oncology nurses and their patients can be quite special. To honor the connection between Ms Mulderrig and Nancy, the publisher of JONS asked Nancy if she would expound on the ways her nurse impacted her life in hope of inspiring others.
I was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in 2014, and I was able to take part in a clinical trial at Fox Chase Cancer Center. My first day of treatment was very intimidating. But I was lucky enough to have Laura as my nurse. She was not only competent but so kind and knowledgeable.
For 3 years now, Laura has been by my side for every treatment. Her strength gave me strength. She has become my friend as well as my nurse. I talk with her about my fears dealing with this disease. Sometimes she has to remind me to ask my doctor, as she’s really in charge. Having Laura in my corner has been such a gift.
All of us at the Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship applaud Nancy’s courageous fight and Laura Mulderrig’s unwavering support through it all.