NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A nurse known for having the ability to diffuse stressful situations with patients and one who is dedicated for caring for breast cancer patients were recognized by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey during National Nurses Week and Oncology Nursing Month.

The Institute honored its nursing team this week through the Oncology Nursing Excellence Awards given during the annual Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture.

Elizabeth Berg of Westfield was recognized for her professionalism and excellence in clinical practice. She was selected by her peers for this year’s award in the category of Advanced Practice Nurse.

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Berg has been a nurse since 1996 and is part of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center. She manages the care of patients with benign and malignant breast disease who undergo surgical treatment.

Colleagues say Berg goes above and beyond the call in all aspects of patient care and she provides teaching and mentoring opportunities to fellow nurses as well as to medical residents. Berg is a long-time member of the breast surgical team at Rutgers Cancer Institute and considered paramount to the development and maintenance of the breast program.

Nurse clinician Kira Lynn Voitle of Lincroft was recognized in the Generalist Nurse category. 

Voitle, who has been a nurse for 20 years, is part of the Hematologic Malignancies Program. She was nominated for “building a culture around service for her patients.”

She recently served in an interim role as a charge nurse for her unit and is recognized by her colleagues for her leadership ability and her strong emphasis on oncology nursing education.  With a caring ability to diffuse stressful situations for patients, Voitle was also cited for her professionalism, empathy, nursing skill and kindness with a personal connection and humor that humanizes the patient experience and deflates the tension of illness.

“Whether on the front lines of patient care or in other critical roles such as research and education, today’s oncology nurses need to be prepared for the rapid evolution taking place in our field. By participating in educational and professional development opportunities such as the Elizabeth Gibby Osborne lecture, our nursing team is better equipped to meet the profession’s daily challenges in order to ensure optimal delivery of patient care,” said Carla Schaefer, associate director of nursing infusion services at Rutgers Cancer Institute.

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, along with its partner RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy, and complex robotic surgery. 

Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities.