Six nurses from Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University are the recipients of two annual awards that provide funding for Winship nurses to pursue their educational and career goals.
The Sabrina Williams Scholarship for Continuing Nursing Education and the Katie Ferraris Taylor Oncology Nursing Fund Award were established by the families of Winship patients as an enduring way to recognize and support the vital role of oncology nurses. The awards have helped dozens of Winship nurses over the years to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as specialized training in various aspects of oncology nursing practice.
"I couldn't be prouder of the extraordinary award recipients and all of the applicants who have the tenacity, talent, and wisdom to pursue the highest levels of nursing excellence," said Lana K. Uhrig, PhD, MBA, RN, chief nursing officer and vice president of cancer nursing at Winship. "We are deeply grateful to the Ferraris, Taylor, and Williams families for their generosity and for choosing to honor their loved ones in such a meaningful way. Their gifts are transformative in the lives of the award recipients and in the lives of Winship patients who benefit from our advanced nursing care."
The Sabrina Williams Scholarship for Continuing Nursing Education was established by Sabrina Williams to honor her late husband, Tommy, and the dedicated Winship nurses who cared for him while he was being treated for lymphoma. Funding from the award helps Winship nurses earn higher education degrees in undergraduate and graduate health science majors.
The 2021 recipient of the Sabrina Williams Scholarship for Continuing Nursing Education is Christi Bell, BSN, RN, BMTCN, education coordinator for Winship's Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Center at Emory University Hospital. Bell will use funding from the award to pursue a master's degree, a requirement for becoming a clinical nurse specialist. "As a bedside nurse," she said, "your primary focus is on caring for the patient in the bed, and often you do not have time to analyze data. As a clinical nurse specialist, I will be able to take that data and make it relevant to the practice of each nurse. I want to make it easier for nurses to be able to recognize that what they do everyday matters."
The Katie Ferraris Taylor Oncology Nursing Fund Award provides financial support for continuing education and professional development in the oncology field. The award honors Winship patient Katie Ferraris Taylor, who asked that remembrances in her name be used to provide lasting tribute to the oncology nurses who cared for her.
The 2021 recipients of the Katie Ferraris Taylor Oncology Nursing Fund Award are Celeste Correa, RN, Dominique Hopson, RN, OCN, Nina Montgomery, RN, BSN, Srutte Panta, RN, OCN, and Nisha Patel, BSN, RN.
Celeste Correa, RN, a registry nurse in the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center, will use the award to pursue a master’s degree in advanced practice nursing to become a nurse practitioner. “Oncology nursing is both incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding,” said Correa. “I want to improve myself through education so I can help more people win this fight every day."
Dominique Hopson, RN, OCN, an advanced nurse clinician III at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, will use funding from the award to earn a master’s degree. “By offsetting the cost of school,” said Hopson, “the Katie Ferraris Taylor Oncology Nursing Fund Award will allow me to continue to pursue my dream of becoming a leader in oncology nursing here at Emory. I hope to be able to show young nurses, who may be apprehensive about specializing in oncology, that this is rewarding work that can have an immediate and lifelong impact on you and your patient."
Nina Montgomery, RN, BSN, a registered nurse with the Winship head and neck cancer team, will use the award to pursue a degree as a family nurse practitioner. “As a recipient of this award," said Montgomery, "I am confident I will fulfill the purpose and drive behind it to better the care of oncology patients and the medical field overall."
Srutte Panta, RN, OCN, a nurse preceptor III in medical oncology, will use funding from the award toward her master’s degree in the Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. “When I left Nepal and came to work at Emory University Hospital in 2017,” said Panta, "I found a new world of oncology nursing. With a strong will to enhance my knowledge and advance my career, I’m excited and very grateful for the financial aid that will enable me to continue my education and give me economic independence."
Nisha Patel, BSN, RN, a student at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, will use funding from the award toward her master’s degree in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program. “As an oncology practitioner,” said Patel, “I hope to be involved with advancements in the field by having a role in clinical trials related to targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and personalized treatment options based on genetic mutation profiles, tumor sites, and patient health status. I am also committed to serving as a patient advocate who empowers, educates, and empathizes with my future oncology patients."