A Guardian Angel Among Doctors

Published on: 
Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 15, Volume 15,

An oncologist describes how gifted and compassionate her primary nurse is with the clinical team and with patients with genitourinary and gynecologic cancers.

I would like to nominate Katie Johnson, B.S.N., RN, for the Extraordinary Healer® Award. I have worked with Katie over the past four years in the department of radiation oncology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Katie has served as the primary nurse for patients with genitourinary and gynecologic cancers.

Katie is an extremely gifted, intelligent and compassionate nurse. She comforts patients and guides them along their journey from the time of their initial cancer diagnosis, through difficult radiation and chemotherapy treatments and through the challenging and often devastating side effects of cancer survivorship. Katie is exceptionally intelligent, and she passes along her knowledge and wisdom to patients and many of the residents that she also helps to train. I am completing my residency training and have had the opportunity to learn from Katie. I know that in the future I will be a better physician for having learned from her.

There is no task too big or too small, and Katie is always eager and willing to help however she can. She is extremely intuitive and proactive, and often the tasks that she needs to complete are done before I could even think to ask. Her same intuition, which allows for efficient clinical workflow, is used to sense anxiety, fear and sadness in our patients and to provide them with comfort and hope. She offers compassion and empathy to patients when they need it most and reminds me — and all our colleagues — each day of the humanistic elements of medicine that make our work the ultimate privilege.

I often will say that Katie is — in many ways — my guardian angel. I know that I always have another set of eyes helping to watch over me, and, more importantly, over our patients we have the privilege of caring for together. It is impossible to put into words how exceptional Katie and know that my humble nomination only gives a small glimpse into just how wonderful she is.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Dr. Christen Elledge for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award. Click here to read more about CURE®’s Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing event on April 30, 2021.

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