© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and CURE - Oncology & Cancer News for Patients & Caregivers. All rights reserved.
Afton Dickerson, M.S.N., ACAGNP-BCP, CBCN, came across many nurses and nurse practitioners who changed her life for the better. Once in remission of her own cancer, she immediately enrolled in school to become an oncology nurse.
The story of how Afton Dickerson, M.S.N., ACAGNP-BCP, CBCN, became an oncology nurse is an inspiring one that I feel needs to be shared. She was 30 years old and the single mother of three young children when she received a diagnosis of cancer.
Just recently divorced, she had moved to a new state and did not yet have insurance coverage or a doctor. She went to a local clinic that charged discounted rates to have an exam. A nurse practitioner changed her course that day, although she did not realize it then.
The nurse practitioner performing the exam stated, “It smells like you have cancer.” Afton awaited word from the office but never heard anything.
Three months later, after getting a job with health insurance, she went to another physician. Here she was told a biopsy was needed. Three days later, she received a call from the physician’s office telling her she had cancer.
Throughout her journey, she came across many nurses and nurse practitioners who changed her life for the better. Once in remission, she immediately enrolled in school to become an oncology nurse. She obtained this goal and began working toward her next goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She was able to work on the oncology floor as a patient postoperative nurse with some of the nurses who had cared for her during her journey. This was an experience that she values to this day.
She fulfilled her goal of working for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where she practiced for six years. She now works with Oncology Consultants, a community practice that provides affordable services to patients who need cancer treatment.
She regularly attends events in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, to advocate for patients with cancer. Each week after her normal workday, she volunteers at a free clinic doing breast and gynecological screenings for patients without insurance. She is president of the local Oncology Nursing Society chapter. Her goal in caring for patients is to ensure no one has to feel as hopeless as she did those three months when she waited to hear if she had cancer.
Afton is a firm believer that prevention is key, and she dedicates her time to helping screen patients. She encompasses everything it is to be an oncology nurse, and we could not be prouder to have her on our team.
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.