Thursday, October 13, 2011
Nurse Researcher Workshop 2011
It’s not a secret that Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is dedicated to finding better treatments and cures for all kids with cancer; in fact it’s our mission. As you probably know, research is our priority, and we are constantly working toward the day when every child that faces cancer will receive the best treatments and ultimately cures. Of course it sounds very simple, but the journey to get there is not a short one. While we continue to fund the research of the best doctors across the country, we also know that the quality of care and life that childhood cancer patients receive on a daily basis is very important. Thus, a few years ago, we began funding the research of nurses.
In addition to funding the work of nurse researchers, for the past two years, ALSF has hosted a Nurse Researcher Workshop in Philadelphia inviting nurses from all over the country (and Canada too!) to participate in the two-day workshop. The workshop allows them to learn how to refine their research questions, gain knowledge about how to work with their institutions, practice disseminating research findings and apply these skills by completing a mock grant application. On the first day of the workshop this year, one of our staffers, Gillian Kocher, sat in while Marilyn Hockenberry, PhD, RN, FANN, PNP of the Baylor College of Medicine gave her key note speech. Here is Gillian’s account of the event:
I arrived at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on a beautiful Thursday morning. After making my way up to the 33rd floor, I was greeted by the familiar faces of nurses from around the country who had traveled to Philadelphia for the nurse researcher workshop. I made it in time for breakfast and had the opportunity to chat with some of the attendees before settling in to Marilyn’s speech. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Kathy Perko from the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation in Oregon and was happy to discuss our athletic adventures!
Right before Marilyn Hockenberry began her speech, we all went around the room and introduced ourselves (yes, even me!). At that moment, I couldn’t help but notice how passionate each and every person in the room was about their work to better the lives of childhood cancer patients. I was genuinely touched and inspired, in fact I mentioned to someone else sitting next to me that I was reevaluating my career path – I wanted to be a nurse! It wasn’t a false statement either, I think having the ability to change people’s lives every day and make a hands on difference is a true gift, and I’m thankful for each and every nurse out there who is doing just that. They have a unique view into the world of their patients, including childhood cancer patients, and it’s inspiring to see this group come together to work toward making those worlds better.
Marilyn’s key note speech was great and outlined the activities that would be taking place over the course of the next two days. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I won’t share all the details here, but one thing that stood out in my mind (and I think the minds of everyone else in attendance) was that one of the participants, Ki Moore, DNSc, RN, FAAN of the University of Arizona School of Nursing, would soon be honored with the 2011 Pathfinder Award from the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR). This prestigious national award, which is said to be the highest in nursing, is given to a nurse researcher whose work demonstrates a sustained program of scientific contributions in a field that advances understanding of human health and health care. Ki’s research has focused on children with cancer, especially leukemia, providing insights for promoting cognitive and school performance recovery after treatment. How cool that one of the nurses that ALSF has funded is receiving this award, seems like a big deal to me!
Regardless, I left the morning feeling re-energized, and even if I don’t follow a path into nursing, I’m glad to know that they are out there, and that they are working to change the lives of kids with cancer and their families on a daily basis.
- Gillian Kocher