The Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing recognizes nurses whose compassion, expertise and helpfulness have made an incredible impact on someone affected by cancer.
Pediatric nurse Laura Vasquez, from Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, was named the Extraordinary Healer of 2015 at a special ceremony held at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 40th Annual Congress. The two other finalists for the 2015 award included Beverly Moser and Elmeria Teffeteller.
At the special event, the sitcom star Valerie Harper congratulated the nurses and shared her story. Harper has battled cancer of the lung and the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain.
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May 04, 2015
As a former oncology nurse and now nursing faculty at a local community college, it seemed so unreal to find myself sitting in a chemo clinic as a patient, not a nurse. Well, of course, I still was a nurse and I was used to observing student nurses, so as I sat there over four months, I observed the nurses.
I had 'my own nurse', whom I loved, each time I came for treatment, but there was another nurse who stood out each time I was there. She quietly moved among the chairs, speaking to all of the patients, not just those she was working with. I watched her watch the environment. She scanned the room, she moved towards those whose IV pump was beeping, or who just looked like they needed someone to be with them. She did not take refuge behind the desk when things were quiet, instead she continued to move quietly among the patients. She never cared for me during my time there, but I remember thinking 'what an amazing nurse' and 'she is the nurse I would want for anyone I loved'. This nurse was Beverly Moser, one of the nominees for the Extraordinary Healer 2015 award.
At the time I was in treatment, I was never introduced to Beverly, but ironically met her later when she began dating a friend of mine and I am now so proud to call her a friend. I have again been able to observe her expertise and compassion as four years ago another friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and Beverly has provided her with the same care I observed her give to all of her patients when I was there, almost 8 years ago.
Nursing is such a demanding profession and in the specialty of oncology, the additional stress of saying goodbye to so many patients when treatment is not successful, increases the stress. It is wonderful to take the time to stop and honor those nurses who stand out and exemplify the traits of an 'Extraordinary Healer'. Although Beverly did not win the final award, she won by being nominated and she has won over and over in the hearts of those she has cared for. Compass Oncology is so lucky to have her and so are the oncology patients in her care.
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