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M. D. Anderson Names Barbara Summers Chief Nursing Officer

M. D. Anderson Names Barbara Summers Chief Nursing Officer
M. D. Anderson News Release 03/02/04

Barbara Summers, Ph.D., a nursing leader whose 25-year career has spanned patient care, research, education, administration, program development and facility operations, has been named vice president and chief nursing officer and head of the Division of Nursing at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

A registered nurse, Summers assumes responsibility for leading a nursing community recognized in December 2001 with Magnet designation — the world’s highest award for nursing service excellence — and consisting of more than 1,800 registered nurses.  At M. D. Anderson, there are some 45 different nursing job categories in inpatient, critical care, emergency, ambulatory disease site clinics, research, diagnostic imaging, supportive care and education.  Nurses make up about 13% of M. D. Anderson’s total employment.

Summers joined M. D. Anderson in 1997 as clinical administrative director for the hematology clinical program.  This program included some of the institution’s busiest clinics and inpatient services with 11 specialty areas providing care to leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, blood and marrow transplant patients.

Three years later, Summers was named associate vice president for clinical programs, a position that expanded her responsibilities to include institution-wide initiatives for all clinical care operations.  During her tenure, Summers has directed the operations planning for two new patient care buildings, and she oversaw multiple renovations to clinical areas in addition to her other functions.

In her new role, Summers says she plans to focus on enhancing and promoting the 63-year legacy of “world-class” nursing at M. D. Anderson as well as partnering with physicians and staff to build collaborations for professional practice and research. She also intends to lead the effort to create a plan that links nursing clinical practice, education and research.

“Oncology nursing is the most exciting, challenging and gratifying of career choices for nursing professionals,” said Summers.  “This specialty practice combines high patient acuity and complexity with long-term, sustained relationships with patients and families as well as physicians and other professional healthcare providers.  Nurses who specialize in oncology give a great deal, but they receive so much more in return.”

Summers and her team also are going to continue to work on “keeping the pipeline of nurses pumped” by collaborating with Houston area community colleges, universities and nursing schools, enhancing the work environment, promoting the field of nursing and encouraging nurses to conduct more research as part of professional development.

“M. D. Anderson has been very fortunate to have not experienced the severe shortage of nurses that so many health care institutions experienced in recent years,” said Summers.  “We have worked very hard to attract and retain the nurses at M. D. Anderson, and they are stellar.  While it takes a very special person and professional to be a nurse at M. D. Anderson, the institution is a very special place as well and it attracts great professionals.”

Summers came to M. D. Anderson after four years at the National Institutes of Health as manager of critical care services and a nurse specialist in ambulatory cancer care and research.  While at the NIH, she developed a program of cancer nursing research that was grounded in the practice of clinical nurses.

Prior to joining the NIH, Summers was with Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. for 13 years as a clinical nurse specialist in the cancer center and director of medical and psychiatric nursing.  She also has directed nurses at Greater Southeast Community Hospital in Washington, D.C.; The Pain Clinic of Southeast Washington, D. C.; and Southern Maryland Hospital in Clinton, Md.

From a family of nurses, Summers earned her Ph.D. in health care administration, master’s degree in oncology nursing and bachelor’s degree in nursing from George Mason University.  She held a faculty appointment at her alma mater, as well as Georgetown University and Catholic University of America before coming to M. D. Anderson. She continues to lecture and present research on clinical practice and nursing leadership at professional conferences throughout the United States.

Summers has received a number of honors and awards throughout her career, including the National Institutes of Health Director’s Award for developing a national Nurse Scientist Training Program.  She also was selected as a Fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program.

Summers is active in cancer advocacy and nursing organizations, including the Board of Trustees of the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation and the American Cancer Society.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center