It’s late Friday night on a holiday weekend and I receive an email from Angela Snyder, DNP, PPCNP-BC, CHPPN, with a detailed summary of how best to meet the psychosocial and physical needs of a family going to the blood department comes and marrow transplant. It is abundantly clear that she courageously went deep into the family to understand what compassionate care means to them. She then returns this information and blueprint of care to the oncology care team for implementation. This email is an example – not a one-off – of how each child and their family will become known so that we can tailor care to their needs.
She is a nurse specialist within our pediatric palliative care service and embedded in the transplant service line. It is no surprise that this service is called “Quality of life for all” and is represented by a cuddly koala. The mission of the Quality of Life for All team is to sit with you, listen to you, and find ways to make each day a little better for you and your child while your child is undergoing treatment for cancer. Angela embodies this mission with her commitment and excellent care at the bedside and in the clinic. She is committed to meeting the support needs of the child and family so that they can smile, laugh, and find joy in their therapeutic journey. Angela works with many families who can achieve healing, but her days are often filled with helping children and families struggling with a life without a cure.
Angela is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Nursing at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is gifted with cultural competence within the subspecialty of palliative care conversations and advocates for day-to-day inclusion and equity in care. She often uses these exceptional skills to provide care with cultural humility. When a family needs an advocate for cultural issues, she is a voice for them. Most recently, she was part of the bridge to help foster understanding between family and staff during a patient’s end of life. Her advocacy helped usher in the understanding, which led to an improved relationship.
In addition, Angela is the co-chair of the Research Council for Nursing. This council provides guidance and mentorship to nurses pursuing science-based research projects at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Angela is currently part of a research team evaluating the use of exercise, giving and receiving unsolicited compliments to improve the work environment for nurses and promote practice providers working in pediatric stem cell transplants. These compliments are based on a concept called ‘firgun’, an informal modern Hebrew term described as genuine, unselfish pleasure or pride in the achievements of others. The goal is to reduce nurse burnout and to advance practice providers within the service line.
It is my honor to nominate Angela for her exceptional care for pediatric oncology patients and their families.
Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Suzette Stone, PhD, for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award. Click here to read more about CURE®’s Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing event on April 30, 2021.
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