New Brunswick, NJ – From patient care and research to peer mentoring and more, nurses at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey are involved in many aspects of oncology nursing that help advance the field. To recognize the scope of their work, they were celebrated this week in many regards including Oncology Nursing Excellence Awards given during the annual Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture.

Described by her colleagues as “a leader with a positive attitude,” nurse clinician Joyce Herrera, RN, BSN, OCN of Franklin Township (Somerset County) was recognized for the award in the Generalist Nurse category.  A nurse for 25 years, Herrera is also part of the Hematologic Malignancies Program and is recognized by her peers for her clinical knowledge. Known for collaborating with others, Herrera is noted as “always willing to help” and “goes above and beyond” with patient care, including anticipating the recommendations of advanced practice providers.

Recognized for her excellence in customer service and clinical practice, Sarah Jiménez MSN, APN-C, AOCNP of Metuchen was selected by her peers as this year’s award recipient in the category of Advanced Practice Nurse. Having been a nurse since 2004, Jiménez is part of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Hematologic Malignancies Program and helps coordinate treatment for patients who are transitioning between outpatient and inpatient care. Considered a team player, Jiménez is described by her colleagues as going “above and beyond in making sure patient needs are taken care of” including taking late day and off-hour texts to help patients with hospital admittance or medication needs. “A true asset” to the team, Jiménez is also heralded for being a “sounding board for advice” in providing guidance to fellow nurses and for her overall care and commitment to patients.

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The awards event culminated with the Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture, which featured Ron Culberson, MSW, CSP, CPAE, a former clinical social worker in a hospice environment. As a speaker and humorist, Culberson lectures to professionals in various fields about changing workplace culture to promote enhanced productivity and employee contentment. Through his talk “Do it Well. Make it Fun. The Key to Success in Life, Death and Almost Everything in Between,” Culberson addressed how incorporating humor into one’s daily routine can help with problem solving, stress management, enhance overall well-being and other challenges seen in the nursing field. 

“With the continued evolution of oncology nursing, our nurses need to remain ahead of the curve by participating in educational and professional development opportunities.  Thanks to events such as the Osborne Lecture, educational workshops and attendance at national conferences, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey nurses learn the latest developments in clinical practice and research so that they may continue to advance the field and provide comprehensive care,” notes Carla Schaefer, BSN, RN, OCN, associate director of infusion services at Rutgers Cancer Institute. “We congratulate our award recipients this year and celebrate all of our nurses at Rutgers Cancer Institute for their continued commitment and dedication to our patients and the nursing profession.”

The lectureship and Nursing Excellence Awards are underwritten in part by the Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture and Scholarship Fund for Nurses. Because of Mrs. Osborne’s strong belief in education, her husband Bill established the fund after her death from cancer in 2004 to support peer learning opportunities for oncology nurses at Rutgers Cancer Institute.