A One-in-a-Million Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Like all good oncology nurse practitioners, she has a deep knowledge of cancer medicine, and I would trust her to care for anyone in my family.

By Dr. Shom Goel

I am a physician-scientist in Australia specializing in breast cancer. I worked side-by-side with Jennifer McKenna, NP, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute from 2012 to 2019, and I know her very well.

Jen is the best oncology nurse I have ever had the privilege to work with, and I miss working with her every day. Like all good oncology nurse practitioners, she has a deep knowledge of cancer medicine, and I would trust her to care for anyone in my family. Indeed, she co-manages the care of patients with some of the most complex breast cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in her work with Dr. Eric Winer. As a result of her expertise, she is often called upon to discuss issues around cancer care at public forums designed to provide patient support and education.

But much more than this, Jen has a unique sense of human nature and an intuitive understanding of who people are and what makes them tick. This means she is able to tailor the care she gives to each individual patient — their personality, their life circumstances — in a way that I’ve not seen in any other oncology nurse. As a result, she is loved by her patients and colleagues alike.

Jen also brings a unique blend of hard work, efficiency and good humor to work. She routinely goes above and beyond to ensure that all her patients — and others’ patients, if needed — have had all their needs met and concerns addressed before she leaves work each day.

Jen is a truly wonderful colleague. Working in clinic alongside Jen was always a joy, and many of her colleagues would consider her a close friend. I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of the Extraordinary Healer® Award.

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