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Brown Foundation Honors Oncology Nurse at M. D. Anderson

Brown Foundation Honors Oncology Nurse at M. D. Anderson
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/27/01

For compassionate caregiving and an ever-present quest for new knowledge to enhance it, Joyce Neumann, an advanced practice nurse at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2001 Ethel Fleming Arceneaux Outstanding Nurse Oncologist Award.

The award is presented annually by The Brown Foundation Inc. to a nurse at M. D. Anderson who demonstrates superior performance in all aspects of oncology nursing.  The honor, which the foundation established in 1982, is accompanied by a personal award to the recipient of $15,000.

Dedicating to M. D. Anderson the last nine years of her 27-year nursing career as an advanced practice nurse in blood and marrow transplantation (BMT), Neumann marvels at the evolution of this treatment area over the last decade.  It is the diversity of patient care needs that keeps BMT nursing interesting, she maintains.  From the scientific aspect, she's now working not only with leukemia, lymphoma, renal cell and myeloma patients but also women with ovarian or breast cancers.  From the human side, Neumann has learned to care for and help individuals triumph over their most difficult days of cancer therapy and sometimes face decisions about advanced life support or hospice care.

"Joyce exemplifies M. D. Anderson's core values of caring, integrity and discovery," writes
Dr. Richard Champlin, chairman of the Department of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, in his award recommendation of her.  "She leads by example in providing compassionate, highest quality patient care.  She is totally committed to her patients."

Neumann believes that much of her sensitivity in patient care originates from her own meaningful time spent caring for her brother, a BMT recipient, and her father, who both died of cancer.  She also studies ethical issues in medicine, leads BMT nursing colleagues in a monthly ethics rounds and serves on M. D. Anderson's Clinical Ethics Committee.

"When I once asked a dying patient what she wanted out of all this, she responded that she wanted to get well and go home,"  Neumann remembers.  "My response was, 'If we can't do that, what is it you want?'  I think it was important in a gentle way to help her focus on some way she could still be successful even in this final stage of her life."

In addition to the human side of patient care, Neumann maintains that nursing is a science.  She has been working with several physicians and scientists at M. D. Anderson on research projects examining quality-of-life issues for transplant recipients.  Over the last several years, an increasing number of studies in many types of cancer have shown that arresting the disease unfortunately doesn't always end the cancer journey.  Many times the treatment itself, while successful, can cause other side effects and problems, such as an increased risk for infection, depression or fatigue.

For BMT patients the difficult side effect of graft versus host disease sometimes develops.  The condition can involve the skin and may range in severity from a rash to more disfiguring changes.  Neumann has become internationally recognized for her research and expertise in how to identify and treat the problem.  At M. D. Anderson, she wrote the standard for colleagues to reference in recognizing potential skin abnormalities.

She has published and lectured extensively on nonmyeloablative BMT, complications of this treatment and ethical issues related to cancer care.  She also has been an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society and the BMT Special Interest Group.  

In the fall, Neumann starts work on her doctorate in nursing with a focus on research at
The University of Texas, commuting to Austin one day each week.  Neumann received her master of science and  bachelor of science degrees in nursing from DePaul University in Chicago. 


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center