Three exceptional nurses will be honored for their compassion in patient care alongside the Finest Hour award winner, who has provided extraordinary care in patients’ lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CURE Media Group, the industry-leading multimedia platform devoted to cancer updates and research that reaches more than 1 million patients, survivors and caregivers, has named the three finalists for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing and the winner of the 2021 Finest Hour award.
This year’s annual recognition event of gratitude and celebration will honor outstanding nurses for their contributions to oncology care. Now in its second year, the Finest Hour award, which recognizes the selfless achievements of an extraordinary nurse working to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic, also will be presented.
This year’s finalists for the Extraordinary Healer® award are:
Jessica Ellison, M.S.N., B.A., RN, CNL, is a transplant coordinator at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She was instrumental in establishing Rush as a national leader for patients with fibrolamellar carcinoma, a devastating cancer of the liver that affects young, healthy children and adolescents. In 2018, Ellison helped create a fibrolamellar cancer program within her clinic, where she oversees the complex coordination of care for her patients and the collection of fresh tissue from the operating room to be sent to fibrolamellar research organizations. Because of Ellison, Rush now sees over 60 fibrolamellar carcinoma patients from 32 states and five countries.
Katherine Gacek, B.S.N., RN, OCN, is a nurse navigator working mostly with hematologic patients with lymphoma at the University of Chicago Medicine. Gacek’s dedication and compassion not only to the nursing profession but also to her patients is best shown through her care of Sam, a nonverbal, autistic patient with Hodgkin lymphoma. Sam could not understand the severity of his disease because of his cognitive delays and often overwhelmed his own family as they tried to care for him. He also became increasingly combative toward the IV therapy infusion nursing staff as his appointments progressed. Gacek researched ways to care for patients like Sam and determined that he needed to understand what to expect at the infusion center, so she created a storyboard poster with images showing him exactly what would happen during his treatments. Gacek’s efforts made a significant difference for Sam, his family and employees and other patients.
Maria Lim, B.S.N., RN, OCN, BMTCN, followed an unusual path to the nursing profession. Growing up in the Philippines, it was her dream to immigrate to the United States. Lim enrolled in a technical school, studied engineering and, after three years of instruction, began on-the-job training, installing speakers and paging systems on light rail trains. She soon realized she wanted to become a nurse instead. In 1993, Lim earned her RN from the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, Philippines. A nursing shortage in the U.S. facilitated her getting a job at the Hampton Plaza Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Niles, Illinois, and then the Lutheran Home and Services for the Aged in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Lim got her green card in the early 2000s, applied to the oncology department at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, and got her OCN and certificate in transplant nursing. Lim worked there for 16 years before moving to the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, where she works as an infusion clinical nurse. Lovell FHCC is the nation’s first and only fully integrated federal health care center between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. As a patient advocate, Lim gives her patients hope and helps them deal with psychological and well as physical issues.
The winner of The Finest Hour award is Jennifer E. Giovanni, Ph.D., MSN, MPH, RN. Giovanni received her call to service before she ever began her nursing career. She joined the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa, in June 1995, and served as a village health worker in the Sahara Desert. Following a tour of duty as a public health commander in the U.S. Air Force, Giovanni attended the UCLA School of Nursing. In keeping with her promise to return to Africa, she left for Zambia, East Africa, to work with women and children with HIV/AIDS. Giovanni later received her doctorate in virology, which would prove essential during her year caring for patients during the West Africa ebolavirus outbreak. This experience would later prepare Giovanni for her current role--working in the intensive care unit (ICU) caring for patients with severe COVID-19. As a travel nurse for Aya Healthcare, Giovanni was among the first crisis response nurses to respond to New York City in the spring of 2020. She had the honor of serving with her fellow ICU nurses at New York University Hospital Langone--Brooklyn and continues to care for ICU patients in the New York City area.
"Congratulations to these incredible nurses who have gone above and beyond making a difference in their patients’ lives," said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences™, parent company of CURE Media Group. "We remain inspired by their compassion and dedication and look forward to making it an amazing evening to remember with our honorees family, friends and their colleagues."
The 2021 Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing virtual celebration will take place Thursday, April 29, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. EDT, in conjunction with the 46th Annual ONS Congress™, taking place April 20, 22, 27 and 29. Award winning actor and producer Sterling K. Brown will also serve as the event’s keynote speaker.
For more information and to register to attend, click here.
This event is sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb and Janssen.
About CURE Media Group
CURE Media Group is the leading resource for cancer updates, research and education. It combines a full suite of media products, including its industry-leading website, CUREtoday.com; innovative video programs, such as CURE Connections®, a series of widely attended live events; and CURE® magazine, which reaches more than 1 million readers, as well as the dynamic website for oncology nurses, OncNursingNews.com, and its companion publication, Oncology Nursing News®. CURE Media Group is a brand of MJH Life Sciences™, the largest privately held, independent, full-service medical media company in North America dedicated to delivering trusted health care news across multiple channels.
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CURE Media Group
Alexandra Ventura, 609-716-7777