Young sarcoma patients inspire care provider

My career has granted me the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people. I began my nursing career as a staff nurse on the third floor of John Colloton Pavillion at the University of Iowa where I cared for pediatric patients with several different diagnoses.

While I loved providing care for pediatric patients of all types, I found myself gravitating to the oncology patient population. Over time, I began focusing my career path directly on oncology patients, leading me to my role today as a nurse practitioner for pediatric oncology.

The strength and resilience of a cancer patient is awe-inspiring. Witnessing the vigor and determination these patients demonstrate throughout their treatment experience and beyond is incredibly motivational. Seeing this inspires me to strive to improve treatments, supportive services, and the overall experience for cancer patients.

During my time working in pediatric oncology, I took special interest in the adolescent and young adult population. This is what led me to my current role in pediatric oncology involving solid tumors and the development of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program.

AYA cancer patients face challenging medical problems during an already challenging period of life. Through a collaboration between the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the AYA program will be designed to provide cutting edge, comprehensive care for patients between the ages of 13 and 31 years old.

The AYA population of cancer patients is often lost in the gap between the worlds of pediatric and adult medical care. This program will be designed to eliminate that gap and ensure they receive supreme care at the University of Iowa.

While it may not be easy, I plan to continue to collaborate with other health care professionals to build a program that will eliminate barriers, increase survival rates and improve overall quality of life for adolescents and young adults.

I see cancer patients exude greatness in the midst of challenges and struggles every day. They have shown me repeatedly that it is possible to overcome obstacles, regardless of their size. Thanks to this inspiring behavior, I will follow their lead and continue to move forward in my career with determination and drive to improve the quality of care and outcomes for the oncology patient population.