By Janice Petrella Lynch, MSN, RN
More than 500 nurse colleagues jumped to their feet when Kathleen Ruccione, PhD, MPH, RN, CPON, FAAN, associate professor, doctoral programs, School of Nursing, Azusa (Calif.) Pacific University, and adjunct clinical professor of pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, CHLA, received the 2015 Nurse.com national GEM award at the annual Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses meeting.
Eileen P. Williamson, MSN, RN, Nurse.com senior vice president and chief nurse executive, presented the award to Ruccione on Sept. 19 and said, “Kathy is a true GEM, a nurse of excellence and most deserving of this prestigious national award. She can be so proud of what she has achieved in advancing and leading the profession for more than four decades.”
Williamson described Ruccione’s many accomplishments, including her role as the first nursing chairwoman of the Children’s Oncology Group; as creator of the HOPE Resource Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; as conductor of pioneering research on iron toxicity in childhood cancer survivors; and as leader of a team that created an award-winning web portal for patients and families.
Her colleagues admire her stellar ability to teach, mentor, role model and attract outstanding people to nursing. Ruccione’s nominator described her as a person who doesn’t merely enlarge upon concepts already developed, but who is at the forefront of major advances in care. She has demonstrated to all who have had the honor and pleasure of working with her what it means to be a true nursing leader who is committed to advancing and leading the profession.
Upon accepting the award, Ruccione said, “During the time I’ve been a nurse, I’ve seen dramatic advances in the management of childhood cancer and blood diseases. Many of these improvements are related to expert clinical practice, research and education led by nurses. So I am deeply grateful to accept this award on behalf of all the pediatric hematology-oncology nurses who have shaped the pediatric hematology-oncology nursing specialty and who improve lives for young people with cancer or blood diseases every day.”
Ruccione hopes the GEM award will continue to inspire both nursing students and practicing nurses and show them that “what we do matters and is recognized by our peers; that there are tremendous and diverse opportunities in nursing; and that we can achieve our dreams.”
Ruccione assumed the presidency of APHON at the September meeting, and will serve as the organization’s president for two years.
Janice Petrella Lynch, MSN, RN, is nurse leader/nurse executive, healthcare, for Oncourse Learning Corporation.
To comment, email [email protected]