Oncology Nurse Has a Passion for Advocacy

Lung Cancer Heroes®, CURE® Lung Cancer Heroes® 2020 Essay Book, Volume 1,

Ashley is a tremendous asset to the lung cancer community — she lives and breathes hope into her patients and providers day in and day out.

ASHLEY LEBLANC, RN, graduated with her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Westfield State University and has more than 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Ashley began her nursing career as a bedside intermediate critical care nurse. Ashley now works at Mercy Medical Center, Trinity Health of New England, as the nursing director of the lung cancer screening program and as a nurse navigator for thoracic surgery.

Ashley is a tremendous asset to the lung cancer community — she lives and breathes hope into her patients and providers day in and day out. As nursing director, she manages Mercy’s lung cancer screening program, and her passion for the program and patients with lung cancer can be seen in her dedication and commitment to her job and this community. Ashley continually advocates for change and helps implement best practice measures within the program. Ashley’s leadership has resulted in numerous lives saved through Mercy’s lung cancer screening program.

Beyond the program, Ashley continually works to serve the lung cancer community. She has served as the nurse planner for the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Education Event in Springfield, Massachusetts. This evening event is in its third year and aims to provide up-to-date research, guidelines and information to providers each spring through continuing medical education. Not only has Ashley served as the nurse planner for this event — she spearheaded its creation. Ashley saw a lack of lung cancer continuing education opportunities for providers in western Massachusetts and requested that the American Lung Association and leaders at Mercy meet to discuss how we could bridge this gap. Additionally, Ashley served as the nurse planner for our LUNG FORCE Expo in East Hartford, Connecticut. The LUNG FORCE Expo is a program designed for patients, caregivers and health care providers to learn more about the latest trends, resources and research surrounding lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. Ashley’s assistance with this year’s expo was unmatched. She is always willing to assist, provide feedback and advocate for important lung cancer initiatives.

Continuing education is a priority to Ashley. She seeks out continuing education opportunities regularly to expand her lung cancer knowledge. Ashley’s commitment to screening goes beyond her responsibilities as a nurse and continuing education. She currently coordinates and plans an annual fundraiser for Mercy’s lung cancer screening program. This fundraiser ensures that those who cannot afford screening have scholarship opportunities available. Ashley plans this event on her own, and it is something she is truly passionate about. She does not want financial limitations to prohibit saving someone’s life.

Ashley is the secretary of Mercy’s Nurse Quality Council. She also serves on the patient safety council, cancer committee, community benefits committee and is co-chair of the lung cancer screening committee. Ashley is actively involved with the Council for a Tobacco Free Springfield and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network Lung Cancer Screening Collaborative. She constantly works to improve the Mercy screening program and to help build the knowledge base of so many providers in Massachusetts and beyond. She is committed to her job and this community, often prioritizing engagements above her family. Ashley is truly deserving of this award.