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My Incomparable Oncology Nurse, Lilia
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A Mother's Lifeline: An Amazing Oncology Nurse
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A Lighthouse in the Storm of Cancer
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Good Karma From My Oncology Nurse, a Kindred Spirit
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My Letter to Nancy, an Extraordinary Oncology Nurse
September 03, 2016 – Shelli Greenland
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July 10, 2016 – Melissa Andres, BSN, RN, OCN
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July 04, 2016 – Daniel W. Lee, MD
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July 03, 2016 – Jessie M. Turner
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July 02, 2016 – Catherine Hugues
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June 25, 2016 – Nina Garkavi
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June 26, 2016 – Mallory Turchi
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Finding a New Friend Through Cancer
October 08, 2016 – Mack and Lacinda Frazier
Helping Me "Take Charge" After Cancer
October 01, 2016 – Jim Berrey
My Incomparable Oncology Nurse, Lilia
October 02, 2016 – Luke G. Conley III
Compassionate Cancer Care That Began With a Hug
September 19, 2016 – John G. Moisan
A Mother's Lifeline: An Amazing Oncology Nurse
September 17, 2016 – Lindsay Querin
A Lighthouse in the Storm of Cancer
September 11, 2016 – Myra Katsuki
My Extraordinary Healer Before and After Cancer Treatment
September 10, 2016 – Larinda Conrad
Finding an Unexpected Friend Through Breast Cancer
September 05, 2016 – Diane Makrinos
Good Karma From My Oncology Nurse, a Kindred Spirit
September 04, 2016 – Mary Ann Kurpinski (patient) and Linda Nabozny (sister)
My Letter to Nancy, an Extraordinary Oncology Nurse
September 03, 2016 – Shelli Greenland
The Oncology Nurse With the Pale Pink Booklet
August 28, 2016 – Tammy Wilsford
With Cancer, It's Either Laugh or Cry
August 28, 2016 – Melissa (Missy) Grace
Ray's Oncology Nurse: His Sunshine and Guardian Angel
August 20, 2016 – Raymond Dziolowski
Our Pediatric Oncology Superhero
August 21, 2016 – Glen Jusczyk on behalf of Malia Jusczyk
Our Extraordinary Home Link to the Oncologist
August 14, 2016 – Susan B. Whigham
Abby's Oncology Nurse: A Gift of Love to Our Family
August 14, 2016 – Steven Oliver
More Than Just a Cancer Nurse: Mel's Angel on Earth
August 08, 2016 – Aggie Higginbotham
A Grateful Daughter: How One Oncology Nurse Made All the Difference
August 06, 2016 – Darlene C. Terroni
Mom's Oncology Nurse: A True Lifesaver
July 31, 2016 – Cassidy Poske, daughter of Christi Poske
A Loyal Friendship Conquers Cancer's Boundaries
July 30, 2016 – Donna Clark, RN, BSN, OCN
One of the Quiet Oncology Heroes
July 24, 2016 – Lisa Barnes
My Personal Cancer Warrior
July 24, 2016 – Rosemary E. Manbachi, CRNP
A Loving and Compassionate Oncology Nurse
July 18, 2016 – Revathi Suppiah, MD
Behind the Scenes: Quietly Making Oncology Patients' Hopes a Reality
July 16, 2016 – David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH
Holding Our Mission -- and Her Oncology Patients -- in Her Heart
July 10, 2016 – Melissa Andres, BSN, RN, OCN
On the Frontlines, Advocating for Every Child With Cancer
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Currently Viewing
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June 11, 2016 – Brandi Brethour
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May 21, 2016 – Cera Stanford, BSN, RN, PHN, NE-BC, HACP

Just an Oncology Nurse? Not At All

An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring Corrine C. Hoeppner, MN, ARNP [Seattle Children's Hospital in Seattle, Washington]
BY Nina Garkavi
PUBLISHED June 25, 2016
Corrine C. Hoeppner, MN, ARNP and Nina Garkavi - PHOTO BY SY BEAN
Corrine C. Hoeppner, MN, ARNP and Nina Garkavi - PHOTO BY SY BEAN
She may officially be a nurse by job title, but that does not describe Correy Hoeppner. She cannot be summarized or labeled by a simple description, or put into a category with all other nurses. She’s not just a nurse — she’s extraordinary.

As a “frequent flier” of the medical world now, I meet many nurses, both men and women. They are all different: friendly, funny, nice, caring, annoying, careless and those who make you feel like a burden or they only have time to deal with one specific issue and nothing else. But none of them compares to Correy.

She hears you when you’re speaking, not merely listening nonchalantly. She cares and makes time for all of your concerns. She makes you feel important and not just like a random patient with a patient ID number. She makes you feel like a person — a person she cares about and one that she will do anything in her power to help heal.

Imagine someone who will respond to literally anything, and do so all the time. It is hard to think that that exists, especially in this day and age. I have friends I have known since childhood that are often “too busy” or have different priorities for their day. Correy never seems to convey that she is too busy, even when undoubtedly she is. She does this for me personally, but more impressively, she does this for all of her patients. Anyone around town who knows of the oncology unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital knows about Correy and can bond with you over a positive story about her or an experience they had with her.

Once people set foot in her clinic, she instantly treats them like family. She is always willing to answer every little question without making you feel ridiculous at all for asking it. She calms any worry or fear you have over and over again, even if the worry is illogical or can’t possibly happen, without making you feel crazy or like a hypochondriac. She is happy to give any piece of advice regarding your current treatment or any questions that come up afterwards.

During active cancer treatment, I always thought I had random pains and was constantly searching online for things that were going wrong with me. Correy always listened to me thoroughly and helped me address every issue, one at a time. She took me seriously and looked at every nonexistent lump that I thought I had developed, even when she knew they weren’t actually there. She would sit through my cry-a-thons in the treatment room. She made me laugh when certain checkups and side effects required very uncomfortable positions — and would joke, “Have all the doctors at Children’s seen your butt yet?” Ha! That made me laugh.

I was one of the few young adults at Children’s Hospital before they had their luxurious young adult wing, but she made it a point to never make me feel uncomfortable. No topic was off limits, and she was always genuine. We had that very sad but necessary conversation regarding my inevitable fertility issues in the future, and we discussed future workplace adjustments that I may need. No matter how difficult the topic, Correy always reached out her hand in support.

She has the memory of an encyclopedia; she remembers names, family members, friends, boy updates, stories you may have told her while drug-induced, treatment protocols, your side effects and all sorts of various facts about you and your personal experience in her care. And Correy is a connector, always wanting to bring together her patients who might be of help to one another. Correy gets personal and never hesitates to share her own experiences or thoughts.

I am nearly four years out of my last day of treatment in 2012, and I am still in touch with Correy. Once you’ve met her, you have met a guardian angel who stays with you always. For every issue that comes up with my medical care, questions that I have regarding survivorship programs to attend and now even regarding internship advice, Correy is the person I “cc” in an email or write an email to. She is the person I seek out and run up to if I see her at an event. She is the one I want to update with my current successes and health improvements. She does not get paid to keep in touch with me and does not need to check in for any follow-ups. She just chooses to. And that is what makes her truly extraordinary.
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