Every shift she works, Jennifer puts her entire heart and soul into providing safe and excellent care. – Nominator comment
Stewart Cancer Center staff nurse Jennifer Harrison says, “For me, working a nursing shift is not just checking things off a list. It’s knowing my patients, trying to give them what they need, and looking at their whole picture – their mind, their body, their spirit, as well as their physical needs.”
Jennifer has cared for patients on Boone Hospital Center’s oncology unit for 17 years. She first came to Boone for her senior practicum while earning her nursing degree at Central Methodist University.
“My advisor was trying to figure out where to put me for my practicum. She suggested oncology and gave me another choice where she thought I’d do well in because of my soft-spoken voice and calm demeanor. I thought I’d try oncology, and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Jennifer says caring for patients is the best part of her job.
“They’re special. Just knowing what they’re going through and their fight, it gives purpose to life. If I can be part of their journey and make a positive impact in any way, I feel like I’m doing something.”
She also appreciates the quality care and support provided by the doctors and staff at Stewart Cancer Center.
“It’s very much a home away from home for me,” Jennifer says. “My family gives me wonderful support and love, and I have that same level of support and love from my coworkers, because on oncology, our nights are often both physically and mentally challenging.”
Jennifer supports her teammates by assisting, educating and sharing her experience and insights with new nurses on the oncology floor. “I always tell new nurses ‘You’re never going to be alone. We’re always here. And ask questions!’”
Jennifer recently volunteered at the Stewart Cancer Center’s cancer survivors’ luncheon on June 24, where she had the opportunity to reunite with some patients she’d once cared for.
“That was really special,” she says. “When we take care of our patients, they’re very vulnerable. For most, it’s the darkest time of their lives, and we’re trying to help them through it. To have a survivor who I know and took care of 4 years ago come up to me with a big smile, and they look great, just made me feel good. Our memories of them are when they are very sick. It is not often we get to see our former patients outside the hospital environment. It is wonderful to see them thriving!”
Jennifer says that seeing her former patients doing well is inspiring and makes her job feel more rewarding.
“We’re always helping them on their journey. It’s part of what we do.”