Patricia S. Ault to Receive Prestigious Nurse-Oncologist Award
M. D. Anderson Nurse Will Start a Prevention Clinic With $15,000 Prize MoneyM. D. Anderson News Release 06/13/08
Patricia S. Ault, MSN, RN, a nurse practitioner in The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Department of Leukemia, is the recipient of the 2008 Ethel Fleming Arceneaux Outstanding Nurse-Oncologist Award.
Funded by The Brown Foundation, Inc., since 1982, the Arceneaux Award recognizes exceptional nurses at M. D. Anderson who are selected by a committee representing M. D. Anderson’s clinical faculty, patient care administration and nursing staff. Ault will accept a cash award of $15,000, a crystal plaque and a commemorative pin at 10 a.m. June 18 in the Frank E. Anderson Conference Hall, Rooms 1, 2, 7 and 8, in M. D. Anderson’s Main Building.
“I was honored to be nominated for the Arceneaux Award, shocked to be one of the finalists and elated beyond belief to know I was the recipient,” says Ault, an acute/adult/family nurse practitioner in the hematology division of the institution’s leukemia department. “The award is an endorsement of my goal to treat each patient with compassion while providing expert nursing care at M. D. Anderson.”
Describing herself as a “walking billboard for M. D. Anderson” and its public education and prevention services, Ault is eager to put her $15,000 prize money to work benefiting others. She is establishing a prevention clinic through a WeightWatchers® group that meets at her church. To encourage participants to follow through on their weight loss and health goals, Ault will reimburse their fees upon one year’s successful completion. In addition, during each participant’s one-year commitment, Ault will monitor blood pressure, check glucose levels and discuss cancer preventive measures with healthy lifestyle choices.
Ault came to M. D. Anderson at the beginning of her oncology career in 1992.
“Soon after becoming part of the M. D. Anderson team, I became aware that this is not just a hospital – it’s an enormous family that has provisional assistance groups to meet the needs of all patients,” she says. “Nursing is at the very center of this family, and I’m fortunate to be a part of those whose dedication to the good of the patient is unrivaled.”
In 1999, Ault began working with Jorge E. Cortes, M.D., professor of leukemia. She credits his support and encouragement throughout her professional advancement.
“Dr. Cortes has always recognized, appreciated and valued everything I did for the patients,” she says. “He taught me how to write manuscripts and conduct research. More important, he entrusts our patients into my care. Mutual respect is his calling card.”
Ault became a nurse in midlife, enrolling in nursing school when her youngest child was in high school. A two-year degree at San Jacinto College led to a bachelor of science in nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a master of science from Texas Woman’s University, where she is an adjunct faculty member. She received her Family Nurse Practitioner Certification from Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Over the years Ault has continued to further her education, most recently enrolling in the clinical doctorate of nursing program at UT Health Science Center-Houston.
“I can only fully serve my patients by continuing to learn and prepare myself to provide the best care possible – that’s the least I can do for my patients and M. D. Anderson,” she says.
Ault is recognized among the medical community for her work in clinical research and patient care. In 2007, for example, she was selected as an international ambassador delegate to South Africa for professional specialization in oncology nursing. In 1995, she received an Abbott Laboratory award for outstanding researcher of the year. She has made dozens of presentations and has published prolifically. Yet she says the Arceneaux Award is the “most humbling honor I’ve received in my professional career.”
“I never believed I would receive an award for doing something I love,” says Ault. “We get so close to our patients, and to be recognized beyond the day-to-day business – it’s spectacular.”
Ault says she’s proud to be a part of M. D. Anderson and its mission to eliminate cancer.
“I know I’m only one small part of the whole group sharing this responsibility,” she says. “But I also know that my contributions to each patient, at each clinic visit, can make a great difference in the outcome and the well-being of each of them. I do not take this lightly, and I remind myself every day of the privilege it is to work here and to have the opportunity to help. I will use the honor of this award to feed my resolve to contribute to this greater cause.”