Tirelessly Committed to Nursing: An Extraordinary Oncology Nurse
Margaret M. Coursen, RN, OCN
Please allow me to introduce to you a young woman who I believe exemplifies the definition of an extraordinary healer. Miss Lauren Peyton, M.S.N., RN, OCN, is my co-worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey. MSK Monmouth opened in December 2016, and Lauren joined our staff in the spring of 2017, but that was not the start of her MSK career. Lauren began as a CAP student — a participant in MSK’s clinical assistant program designed to give clinical experience to RN students. After graduating in 2009, Lauren began work on our inpatient leukemia/lymphoma unit. In 2011, she transferred to outpatient care at our Breast and Imaging Center (BAIC) as an infusion RN before joining us in New Jersey. During her first few months with us, Lauren completed her M.S.N. in education, and we happily celebrated not only her degree but also her promotion to clinical nurse 4, the top rung of our clinical ladder.
Lauren’s commitment to excellence in patient care was evident when she shared the story of a challenging patient experience with me. Lauren looked beyond the patient’s persistent questions and demands to see a frightened woman who was struggling to understand the changes in her health and care. Lauren took time to actively listen to her concerns and reviewed with the patient the policies and guidelines on which her care was based. Lauren discussed her findings with the nursing and medical team, and an individual plan of care was established that increased patient and nursing satisfaction without compromising safety.
While at BAIC, Lauren helped establish the nursing workflow of the phase 1 developmental treatment unit. Her critical thinking and problem-solving skills led to an improvement in the processes of patient care for those on clinical trials. Lauren brought her expertise to our New Jersey site and has been instrumental in establishing a similar program. She is an active participant in the weekly phase 1 meetings and is always willing to act as a mentor to the nursing staff that
administers these treatments.
As a clinical nurse 4, Lauren often acts as charge RN of our very busy infusion unit. In this role, she manages the flow of patients through the unit in collaboration with the medical, nursing and pharmacy teams. Lauren also shares the role of verification RN; in this position, she reviews chemotherapy orders to ensure compliance with established guidelines of care. The safe treatment and comfort of patients are always at the forefront of her thoughts. When providing direct patient
care, her kindness and expertise shine through.
Lauren is also an instrument of change. When our dermatology department recommended cryotherapy to decrease the nail changes that can accompany some chemotherapy treatments, Lauren became a major stakeholder in developing a policy and its accompanying education for patients and staff. She researched the evidence of extremity cooling and presented her findings at an interdepartmental level. She established pilot programs to test the evidence and best means of providing this new level of care to our patient population. The manuscript of her research and its resultant policy and education materials are under review for publication.
I hope that this glimpse of Ms. Peyton demonstrates what an extraordinary RN she is. She heals her patients with direct care, improvement in policy and a commitment to safety.