Creating an Extraordinary Environment for Cancer Healing

Extraordinary Healer®, CURE® Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 16, Volume 16,

As Vicki puts it, she envisions her role as nurse manager as helping patients have the best possible journey from the minute they walk through the doors.

Vicki Browne, B.S.N., RN, OCN, nurse manager for the New York Proton Center (NYPC), has led a distinguished career defined by her unrelenting drive to help others. As Vicki puts it, she envisions her role as nurse manager as helping patients have the best possible journey from the minute they walk through the doors.

Vicki has been an oncology nurse for decades, drawn to the field because of her desire to give back and care for others. With a distinguished nursing career in both medical oncology and radiation oncology, Vicki was recruited to be our nurse manager shortly after we opened in 2019 — the first and only facility in New York that offers proton radiation therapy, the most advanced and innovative form of radiation treatment for cancer. It allows for extreme precision and can better limit side effects for patients.

With 18 direct reports, Vicki has built and fostered a dynamic team of registered nurses and support staff from the ground up as NYPC has grown in patient volume faster than any of the 38 other proton centers in the country.

Our team also sees the most complex caseload of any proton center, including patients with difficult-to-treat tumors or recurrent cancers and those who receive systemic therapies concurrently with proton therapy.

Despite the challenges of working in a high-pressure environment with high-complexity patients, including both adults and young children, Vicki always leads by example and has nurtured a clinical environment that is supportive, safe and comforting for both patients and staff.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she felt it was her responsibility to encourage self-care among the nursing team, which led to her implementing socially distanced meditation, mindfulness and yoga classes for the nursing team.

Vicki is deeply committed to ensuring that our nurses understand that what they do affects the lives of their patients. They employ a great sense of empathy and emotion in their clinical care to create a patient experience unlike any other cancer center. Our patients consistently express abundant gratitude for our nurses, due in no small part to Vicki’s leadership.

In her fleeting spare time, Vicki finds ways to give back to her community and those in need. Vicki became heavily involved in The LemonAid Fund, an organization that helps people living in impoverished and war-torn countries in Africa. Since becoming involved, Vicki has undertaken numerous service trips to Sierra Leone, Rwanda and other countries.

For one project, she collected more than 20,000 pounds of books from neighbors and community members from her hometown on Long Island, which she then shipped via container ship to West Africa.

The receiving library in Allen Town, Sierra Leone, was renamed “Auntie Vicki’s Library” in her honor, thanks to her efforts — a true testament to the kind of human that Vicki is: Someone whose will for caring and generosity for others knows no bounds.

To put it simply, Vicki is a unique person — as a nurse, as a manager, as a colleague, as a community member, as a citizen and as a friend. She has served as an inspiration and motivator for countless patients throughout her career and at the New York Proton Center, and she fully lives up to the title of an Extraordinary Healer® who consistently exceeds every expectation.

I am proud to nominate her for the Extraordinary Healer® Award. She is most deserving, and I am thankful to have Vicki on my team and as a leader of our center as we continue to expand our extraordinary environment for healing at the New York Proton Center.


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