Sparking an Interest in Oncology Nursing

What better way to stimulate interest in a career in oncology nursing than to shadow and be mentored by the professionals themselves? This was Frederick Flyru1, Jr’s vision when he created the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Fellowship program in memory of his wife, who lost her battle to cancer in 2013. He partnered with Regina Cunningham, PhD, chief nurse executive, and Paula Watkins, MSN, nurse manager on Rhoads 7, to develop this fellowship, which selects from rising senior nursing students enrolled at the Penn School of Nursing or Villanova University. The eight-week summer program not only allows students to interact with nurses on oncology units but across the entire continuum of cancer care as well.

”The greatest aspect of the program is getting to view oncology from different angles,” said Nyasia White, who, along with John Doner and Molly Becker, comprised this year’s fellows. “We were exposed to radiation, chemotherapy, palliative care, home health, and hospice care, as well as oncology in the OR and oncology units.”

Added Doner, “I thought being able to see the continuum of care and interdisciplinary collaboration was really valuable.”

At a celebration at the end of the fellowship, Mauri Sullivan, MSN, clinical director of Oncology Nursing, thanked Flynn ”for bringing this wonderful fellowship to life at HUP. You stimulated us to imagine a new way to engage nursing students with experiential learning and igniting a passion for oncology nursing.”

“It’s amazing what happened here in less than a year, thanks to you and this great supporting cast,” Flynn told the oncology nursing staff. “I couldn’t ask for better partners.”

Planning has already begun for the class of 2016, Watkins said. “We anticipate the success of this program to continue to grow and have been truly amazed by the caliber of the students, their mentors, and overall support across the organization.”