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Oncology nurses provide support, compassion and care for patients, their families and caregivers, while also campaigning and advocating for resources to meet the challenging needs of the cancer care system.
Every day across Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, oncology nurses are ensuring excellence in clinical practice, developing resources and providing patient education, applying and conducting research, as well as supporting learning and growth of interprofessional students and staff members.
This special group of professionals were celebrated across Canada on April 3 for the 15th anniversary of National Oncology Nursing Day. This year's theme is "Excellence in Oncology: Our Patients, Our Passion," highlighting the excellence in oncology nursing across Canada while maintaining the focus on patients.
The Princess Margaret marked the occasion with its 9th Annual Oncology Nursing Day Awards.
The awards recognized outstanding contributions to oncology nursing and support the professional development of oncology nurses in the cancer program. The Rising Star and Rose Dean Essence of Oncology awards involve submitted nominations from across interprofessional teams. The 90/10 award requires the submission of a proposal and application for fellowship funding.
The Rising Star Oncology Nursing Award is presented to an oncology nurse that is new to nursing – less than five years since graduating from an undergraduate program and less than three years in oncology – in recognition of contributions to excellence in nursing and enhancing the patient experience through patient-centred care.
The recipient of this year's Rising Star Award is Simranjit "Sim" Kooner, a registered nurse with the Lung/Sarcoma team. Sim was recognized as being instrumental in increasing the use of the ESAS-DART screening tools in the lung cancer clinic.
He has collaborated with nursing colleagues to ensure the team is using the latest nursing evidenced based strategies for the management of symptoms. Sim is described as being a creative thinker and innovator. He has taken leadership in multiple areas of nursing, including bridging clinical practice and research.
"Sim's commitment to evidence-based care, innovation, improved quality of care, and patient-focused care is evident," said Sim's nominator.
"It is hard to believe that he has only been in Oncology for a few years, given his current leadership within the nursing team of thoracic oncology."
In addition to winning the Rising Star award, Sim is also the winner of the
90/10 Professional Development Project Award.
The award provides an opportunity for a nurse to develop a nursing-based initiative to improve outcomes or focus on a project that creates a quality work environment.
The award supports the nurse to have dedicated time away from the clinical area to work on and complete the project within a six-month period. The nurse must submit a project proposal along with a letter of support from their manager and a mentor.
Several excellent proposals were submitted this year. Sim's project will focus on improving the care of ambulatory patients, specifically with patient reported outcomes through remote symptom assessment. The project will involve a pilot with patients using an assessment tool on their mobile devices.
The Rose Dean Essence of Oncology Nursing Award is presented to an oncology nurse in recognition of an outstanding contribution to nursing aligned with the "best of nursing" themes, including the power of presence and truly "being with" patients and colleagues, providing excellent practice, and fostering an environment that enables nurses to be their best.
This year's recipient is Patricia "Trish" Murphy-Kane, Clinical Nurse Specialist on the Palliative Care Unit. Her nominators described Trish as a nurse who delivers extraordinary care to patients and families, ensuring a holistic plan of care through working closely with the interdisciplinary team.
Trish exemplifies the best of nursing through her dedication to excellence in practice and her balanced perspectives on various complexities and challenges seen in practice, whether it be regarding the provision of care, ethical issues in death and dying, or conflict resolution.
Trish's nominators say one of her most admirable traits is her ability to provide unconditional support and guidance to her nursing colleagues. She advocates for safety and well-being and fosters a collegial work environment.
She is valued not only by her colleagues, but also treasured by many patients and families who describe her as "amazing" and who are grateful for her role in their care.
"The nurses and other members of the interdisciplinary team recognize how pivotal her role is on our unit," said one nominator. "Trish's authentic presence with patients, families, and nursing colleagues is a unique and rare gift which aligns her with the best of nursing."
Congratulations to all of the Specialized Oncology Nurses who were nominated for awards this year.
90/10 Professional Development Project
Rising Star Oncology Nursing Award
Rose Dean Essence of Oncology Nursing Award