Nurses are the heartbeat of MD Anderson. Comprising nearly 20% of our workforce, they are an essential part of our multidisciplinary care teams and help instill courage, hope and trust in patients and families by delivering the highest level of safe, compassionate care. MD Anderson’s Nursing Division is recognized among the best in the nation, and we are proud to be celebrating them during Nurses Week.
Donors applaud and support our wonderful nurses, among them Registered Nurses Maria Alonso, Deborah Go and Isela Murillo — recent recipients of the Jennifer Kreykes Pohl Clinical Coach Award. Jean Kreykes and her late husband William Kreykes established the award in 2005 in memory of their daughter, Jennifer, who passed away from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They funded an endowment to provide the awards annually to outstanding nurse clinical coaches, with preference for one of the awards to be given to a nurse in the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy department each year. Kreykes, a former nurse, says, “Jennifer received excellent nursing care while in the bone marrow transplant unit.”
The Jennifer Kreykes Pohl Clinical Coach Award winners are announced every fall in a ceremony held on or close to Jennifer’s birthday, honoring her life and the legacy of kindness and caring that lives on through the endowment her family established. “Through Jennifer’s endowment, her memory and spirit are kept alive,” Kreykes says.
Recipients of this prestigious award remember Jennifer as they are recognized for their exceptional leadership, role modeling, accountability, creation of a positive learning environment and mentoring. Through their commitment to excellence and dedication to supporting and training new nursing staff, clinical coaches like Alonso, Go and Murillo are empowering the next generation of nursing professionals and leaders.
Nurses in action
Alonso has been in the nursing profession for more than 25 years and views caring for others as her calling. Go is always looking for “ways to improve efficiencies that can be passed on to others.” For Murillo, whether she’s instructing a new nurse or an experienced nurse who is new to MD Anderson’s patient population, the ultimate focus remains the patient. These extraordinary individuals are representative of MD Anderson’s 4,000-plus nurses, who consistently do whatever it takes to ensure that each patient is in expert hands throughout their cancer journey.
Since 2001, MD Anderson nurses have earned five consecutive Magnet designations from the American Nurses Credentialing Center — the most prestigious international honor for nursing excellence and the ultimate benchmark for measuring quality of care. This remarkable achievement, shared by only about 20 other institutions in the U.S., spotlights a robust pipeline of highly trained and engaged nursing professionals who daily make a difference in the lives of our patients.
Just ask Tonja Voorhies, stage III breast cancer survivor, who is grateful for the personalized care she received during her treatment at MD Anderson. “Not only did my amazing nurses take great care of me in the office, they also called and checked on me periodically to make sure I was doing well when I wasn’t due in to see the doctor,” Voorhies says. “I was treated with love and not like a number or a statistic.”
“Nurses don’t always get the recognition they deserve,” Kreykes points out, but her family’s generosity is making up for that as it helps MD Anderson build and honor a truly exceptional Nursing Division.
How you can help
To learn about how to establish awards that support exceptional efforts while honoring a loved one, call 713-563-4084 for more information.