This essay nominates registered oncology nurse Linda Chan for the CURE® 2019 Extraordinary Healer® Award, written by Chan’s colleagues and mentors at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital.
Many nurses in surgical oncology do not consider themselves “oncology nurses,” yet surgery remains a major cancer treatment modality where nurses can make a difference. Most patients remember their chemotherapy nurse, but do they remember the nurse who cared for them before or after surgery? This oncology subspecialty has evolved to include care of patients with cancer from diagnosis, treatment, recurrence and reconstruction through long-term survivorship. Linda Chan, B.S.N., RN, OCN, CMSRN, has been able to model and advocate for this often-neglected area of practice. She is currently a bedside nurse on a surgical unit at a large magnet, National Cancer Institute-designated teaching hospital in Dallas and has been in oncology for half of her nursing career, which started 30 years ago.
From left: Linda Chan, B.S.N., RN, OCN, CMSRN, and Elaine S. DeMeyer, M.S.N., RN, AOCN. Photos By Suzi Neely.
She is recognized by her patients and colleagues as kind, compassionate and knowledgeable. Many PACT cards — acknowledgements of exemplary work — from peers, patients and their families have expressed sincere gratitude to Linda for “saving the day” and being a team player, a great teacher, knowledgeable and a presence offering reassurance and compassion. In 2018, she was honored by being chosen as one of the Dallas Fort Worth Great 100 Nurses.
Most important, Linda does not accept the status quo. She is passionate about evidence-based practice and participates in a nursing research program at her hospital.
One example of Linda’s passion for research and evidence-based practice involves a pilot study in a 32-bed surgical unit on how gum chewing versus no gum chewing affects post-operative ileus. As one of three study authors, she gave an oral presentation at Oncology Nursing Society Congress 2017, with a follow-up article in Oncology Nursing News® and CURE® magazines. She will give a podium presentation about her involvement in evidence-based practice at the prestigious National Evidence-Based Practice Conference in Iowa in April 2019 and, for the second year in a row, she will co-chair the International Neuroscience Nursing Research Symposium.
At work and in her community, she helps promote wellness among oncology nurses. Lori Hodge, director of medical and oncology services, proudly praised Linda’s fantastic work with the NoMMaD (No More Moral Distress) program, which addresses staff subjected to morally distressing incidents. Linda is active in the Dallas Chapter of ONS, and as its membership chair and a board member, she has been instrumental in organizing social activities, such as bowling and a movie night, to provide much-needed peer support to promote resiliency in oncology nursing.
In addition, she participates in the ONS Dallas Chapter’s mentorship and speaker programs. She combined her love for research and advocating for patients in her chosen topic, “Frankly Speaking: Clinical Trials.” She presented to patient/caregiver support groups at all three locations of Cancer Support Community North Texas (Dallas, Plano and Fort Worth) and for a mixed group of patients, caregivers and oncology professionals at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center. She has agreed to move into a mentorship role for 2019 to share what she has learned. She suggested that an abstract about the third generation of mentees, which is currently in draft format, be submitted to the Cowtown Oncology Nursing Symposium. These are just a few illustrations of how Linda is always looking for ways to contribute to the knowledge of nursing with best-practice examples.
In her free time, Linda volunteers at the Greater Dallas Arya Samaj Cancer Clinic, which provides free cancer care to patients without insurance, as well as for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She has been matched with her “little sister” for eight years and finds great joy in mentoring and spending time with the girl, who is now 16 years old.
Linda Chan deserves to be recognized for her career achievements, her contributions to the science of nursing and her service in cancer care. She exemplifies all the hallmarks of excellence in oncology nursing — excelling in her chosen field as recognized by patients, peers and leadership at her place of employment and in her community. Linda demonstrates passion, leadership and service to the Dallas community while constantly striving to improve patient care. She recognizes that, to improve patient care, nurses must actively incorporate research and new ideas into clinical practice, and she aims to disseminate that information. As her colleagues and her mentors, we are honored to recognize Linda Chan with this nomination for the 2019 CURE® Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing.