Each year 24 University of Utah staff are nominated for the Staff Excellence Awards. These awards recognize superior service and ongoing contributions among the U of U’s full-time employees. Three of this year’s 24 nominees are from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). Learn more about these individuals who go above and beyond in cancer care, research, and prevention.
To round out nurses week, we’re featuring two today: Diane Bowen and Kelly Moynahan. Both have a long history with Huntsman Cancer Institute.
It is hard to imagine a world without the care of nurses. Thanks to one dedicated woman in particular, we don’t have to. Florence Nightingale is broadly acknowledged and revered as the pioneer of modern nursing. Although most people know her as the “Lady with the Lamp,” she is much more than that.
Today is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Born May 12, 1820, she is broadly acknowledged and revered as the pioneer of modern nursing. She is remembered for her organizational skills and addressing sanitation conditions in hospitals and on the battle field.
The National Nurses Week theme this year is “Culture of Safety.” Huntsman Cancer Institute nurses work hard to maintain a safe environment for our patients. Cancer patients are some of the most vulnerable patients in health care. Due to their treatment or disease, they have compromised immune systems. This means there is a decreased number of white blood cells making it difficult to fight infection. HCI has a nurse dedicated to Infection Prevention. Jamie Fendler assists with monitoring our infection rates, provides training, and assists with policies and processes. Hand hygiene is the #1 method we use along with keeping a clean environment. Other examples of how nurses keep patients safe include fall risk assessment, patient identification, early recognition of concerning vital signs, and communicating information between departments. Nurses are in the hospital 24/7 to provide care and treatments and maintain a safe environment.
Here at Huntsman Cancer Institute, it’s Day 2 of Nurses Week. For a group of professionals who take their work very seriously, HCI nurses also find time to fit a little “fun” into their lives at work. Many times this involves food or theme events, such as wearing crazy socks. They always find creative ways to bring a smile to a patient as well. Besides being competent at what they do, kind and compassionate to patients and families, they are also a huge support to each other. The work of a nurse is not easy. There are days when they are asked to accomplish more than seems humanly possible. Our HCI motto is “Patient first, United effort, Excellence in all we do.” HCI nurses live this 24/7.
I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am to be the Director of Nursing Services at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Officially, Nurses Week starts May 6 and ends May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. She was an amazing woman. Here are a few things you may not know about nurses:
Here at Huntsman Cancer Institute, we have an extraordinary team of nurses and support professionals who contribute to our patient care at every step—from clinic visits to infusion to surgery to wellness to family support. I am extremely proud of the high quality of care our nurses deliver to our patients and families who are dealing with the enormous physical and emotional stress of a cancer diagnosis.
Sammie woke up tired this morning, just like she does most mornings. More than that, she hasn’t really felt much lately. She hasn’t laughed—really laughed—in a long time. Even sorrow has lost its sting. Despite the recent deaths of patients for whom she provides care, she just feels numb. While tears are missing, however, she can’t help but notice that her patients haunt her dreams. Though she once found purpose and fulfillment in her work, Sammie’s 20 years of nursing have taken a toll and she now wonders if she can continue paying the psychological costs.