Driven. Compassionate. Inspiring.
Those words surface when Ladawna Leeth, RN, MSN, AOCN, is part of the conversation.
That’s because Leeth brings a unique energy to her work as a nurse, one that comes from both her professional experience and her personal life.
Leeth joined the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Hamilton as director for oncology services two years ago.
“It’s really invigorated my nursing career; I actually get to take care of patients now sometimes,” said Leeth, who oversees all aspects of patient care at the community-based cancer center that houses a medical oncology practice, radiation treatment center, infusion center, inpatient and outpatient cancer care and outreach services.
Leeth’s background in oncology nursing is an asset to the center, said Lisa Breza, RN, vice president and CNO at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton. “Ladawna is a person who is very intelligent and highly motivated to make a difference for patients and families,” said Breza, who is Leeth’s predecessor at CINJ Hamilton, located on the RWJ Hamilton campus.
Leeth’s main focus is the patients, but not just because it’s in her job description. “She also brings a personal touch to the team, being a cancer survivor herself,” Breza said.
Leeth acknowledges that being diagnosed with thyroid cancer 24 years ago and undergoing surgery while pregnant with her first child changed her perspective in many ways. But her passion for nursing runs deeper.
“It’s not necessarily the experience of having cancer that led me to oncology,” she said. “It’s the complexity, the technology, how much we have to offer patients. I like to think it’s been a value as we look to create increases in our survivorship program.”
Leeth notes the social agenda on cancer has changed dramatically in recent years. One of her goals at CINJ Hamilton is to spearhead the production of literature and programs geared toward cancer survivors.
“More and more of our patients, including me, want to know what the implications are of living with cancer,” she said.
Susan Hansen is a freelance writer.