Frances MacDonald receives Brown Foundation Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing

MD Anderson’s highest nursing honor includes $15,000 cash prize

Frances MacDonald, a clinical nurse in the GI-Colorectal Center at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is the recipient of the 2018 Brown Foundation Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing.

The award, established by The Brown Foundation Inc. in 1982, is the institution's highest nursing honor. A committee of MD Anderson clinical faculty, patient care administrators and nursing staff, led by Carol Porter, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, reviewed peer and patient nominations before narrowing the selection to three candidates. Finalists include Kristy Bodden, a senior research nurse in the Department of Leukemia, and Biji Chirappattu, a post-anesthesia care unit clinical nurse and clinical charge nurse.

The selection committee, coworkers and friends surprised MacDonald recently with the news and a bouquet of flowers and balloons. At a ceremony today, MacDonald received a cash prize of $15,000 from The Brown Foundation, represented by Isabel Stude Lummis, president, and Ann Ziker, executive director, as well as a glass plaque and a commemorative pin. Bodden and Chirappattu also received formal recognition as well as commemorative plaques and pins.

MacDonald has worked at MD Anderson since 2006. A breast cancer survivor, she sums up her nursing philosophy in one word: empathy. She strives to actively listen and communicate so that patients and their loved ones feel valued and respected.

"Practicing nursing at MD Anderson is a true honor and privilege," said MacDonald, who received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

She recently collaborated with peers in the GI Center to create the Bereavement Committee, which provides personalized grief support.

"I feel that this work is very important for us to continue to honor the patient by offering bereavement support to their loved ones," said MacDonald. 

At today’s presentation ceremony, Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson, congratulated MacDonald and thanked her for the dedication and commitment she brings to nursing.

“I know you will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of your patients and their loved ones, as well as our colleagues at MD Anderson,” said Pisters. “As an exceptional nursing professional, you are a testament to our efforts in Making Cancer History.”