As nurse leader for ambulatory consultative services at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, Lorraine McEvoy, RN, DNP, MSN, OCN, sees her role as extending far beyond her job description.
Because the nurses she oversees deal with cancer patients, it is McEvoys goal to see that they all become certified in oncology nursing.
Five years ago McEvoy formed a study group of 12 to 15 nurses, using material she had on hand from her previous work teaching OCN review courses. Word began to spread about the free service McEvoy was providing, and soon she began offering remote access to her study group to handle all the requests. The annual 18-week OCN Prep Study Group grew as large as 84 nurses one year, although she now limits it to 60.
McEvoy, who arrived at Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2003, never considered what she was doing to be special, but others took notice.
She recently was named the 2014 Oncology Certified Nurse of the Year by the Pittsburgh-based Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. McEvoy was honored May 2 during the ONCC Recognition Breakfast in Anaheim, Calif.
ONCC is the originator, the source that establishes the standards for the exams, provides support for nurses, encourages nurses to become certified, made certification meaningful, McEvoy said. So for them to choose me, I was amazed. I was truly amazed. Its a very moving experience when people at that level would choose to recognize someone like me. I feel like Im just pushing the boulder uphill, so to speak.
Nancy Houlihan, RN, MA, AOCN, nurse leader of the Breast and Imaging Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, nominated McEvoy for the award. Houlihan described McEvoy as a consummate educator.
Thousands of nurses here have taken the course and successfully completed their OCN as a result, Houlihan said. She is really seen as a vehicle for making that possible for many of our nurses.
McEvoys interest in oncology nursing was born of her work as a float nurse in the 1980s at St. Josephs Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., which had begun performing bone marrow transplants.
Somewhere in there, I thought, This is amazing stuff. Id like to learn about this, McEvoy said.
She became oncology certified in the late 1980s and has made it her mission ever since to advance nursing expertise.
Im on them, McEvoy said of her nurses. I tell them, You should feel a push from behind, and that will be me.
Tom Clegg is a freelance writer.