When Winship Associate Director for Mentorship, Education and Training Deborah Bruner, RN, PhD, first met her own mentor, Gerald Hanks, MD, she was in the process of being hired as a nurse manager at a cancer center in Philadelphia. It was her first exposure to radiation oncology and the beginning of her efforts to influence and define the role of nursing in the field.
"He saw my interest in research and encouraged my academic growth and encouraged me to develop a new program for prostate screening and research," says Bruner. Hanks went on to promote her to director of the program and he later urged Bruner to earn her PhD. He also supported her while she developed the first annual course and training in the United States for radiation oncology nurses, a program that still exists today.
Hanks, who is now retired, is a world-renowned expert in the field of prostate cancer. He pioneered new therapeutic treatments for patients and helped shape guidelines and standards of care.
"He was more attuned to action than advice," Bruner explains. "He showed me how to identify opportunities for my mentees, how to support them with resources to make it possible to take advantage of opportunities, how to coach, and how to open doors for their advancement."
Winship Associate Director for Mentorship, Education and Training Deborah Bruner, RN, PhD, with her mentor Gerald Banks, MD and good friend Alexandra Hanlon, PhD.