May is Oncology Nursing Month. It’s an important time for anyone who has committed their career to helping patients through oncology and for those who have been impacted by their work. While I’m thrilled to celebrate the contributions made by my peers to the healthcare community this month, I also recognize that the work of oncology nursing is a 365, 24/7 job.
Over the course of my career, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside so many nurses who are truly driven to support patients day-in and day-out. Their commitment goes well beyond one day of recognition. No one exemplifies this hard work and determination quite like my dear friend and recent recipient of the ACRP Lifetime Achievement Award – Gayle Jameson, MSN ACNP-BC, AOCN.
Gayle’s Oncology Story
I had the honor of working with Gayle from 2006 to 2015 at HonorHealth Research Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Gayle is a principal investigator (PI) and nurse practitioner for the oncology early phase clinical trials program. I had several roles during my time in the department, and Gayle was always a mentor to me as I grew in my oncology nursing career. Like so many leaders in oncology, she was a fierce advocate for the patients and staff.
A common theme in the careers of oncology nurses is a drive to improve the profession for future generations, and Gayle is no exception. In her passion to promote the role of oncology nurse practitioners, she designed and led an innovative “boot camp” to help train investigators. Gayle also blazed the trail for increased pay and the expansion of the nurse practitioner role as investigators throughout hospital systems.
Gayle was also an advocate for education for oncology nurses and supporting staff. She initiated a bi-weekly journal club, inviting guest speakers for educational presentations for the staff. She also helped the oncology nurses in the department with their own nursing research projects and encouraged publications and presentations.
A Lasting Impact
Awards like ACRP’s Lifetime Achievement Award not only acknowledge the accomplishments of a successful career, but also the character of those professionals who are brave enough to blaze a trail where others say it is not possible. Not only has Gayle done this in her efforts as a nurse practitioner PI of early phase oncology clinical trials, but that she has taken it a step further to empower future nurses through sharing her passion and fighting for continued education.
The ripple effect of the positive influence of professionals like Gayle can be felt throughout healthcare. Her passion for oncology has pushed her fellow nurses to achieve more. When oncology nurses are supported, their patients and loved ones are supported, too.
As we join together to celebrate Oncology Nursing Month, take time to recognize nurses like Gayle who are making a difference – not just throughout the month of May, but each and every day.
Do you have any oncology nursing stories to share? Join the conversation in the comment section below!
About the Author
Molly has over 20 years of health care experience with specialization in oncology, research and health care administration. Now, Molly shares her experience and expertise with sites as Executive Director of Medix Clinical Research.