We are proud to announce that the winner of the 2017 ONE Award is Laura Mulderrig, BSN, RN, OCN, a nurse in the clinical research unit at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Laura’s first brush with oncology came at an early age when her father was treated for lung cancer at the very institution that would one day employ her. Later, as a Temple University undergraduate, Laura “fell in love” with oncology while doing a rotation at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The fit was so perfect that she has remained there for nearly 3 decades.
“I knew that Fox Chase was where I needed to be, and I’m thrilled to be here after 29 years,” she says.
In addition to her work in Fox Chase Cancer Center’s clinical research unit, she thrived for 18 years in the medical-surgical unit and witnessed the evolution of treatment.
“When I started there were fewer drug options, treatments were longer, and patients were sometimes hospitalized,” she says. “Chemotherapy was the primary therapy until the unit transitioned into a surgical unit.”
In this role, Laura saw patients undergoing surgery for a variety of cancers, including genitourinary, gastrointestinal, and breast cancer.
“From there, the opportunity arose to enter the clinical research unit and I took it,” she explains. “I wanted to return to a role where I could work with patients day after day and get to know them well, which I had enjoyed from my time in the medical-surgical unit.”
Nancy Quinn, a Fox Chase Cancer Center patient, who has worked with Laura since her first day of treatment for ovarian cancer, nominated Laura for the award because “she cares so much about and for her patients, and is never too busy to share a smile and her contagious optimistic attitude.”
Laura attributes her success and passion to her patients, who notice and appreciate the little things.
“When patients come into our unit for a stage I clinical trial, they’re scared and unsure what to expect,” she explains. “It’s a smaller unit with only 5 nurses, so we’re able to make them feel comfortable, explain the procedures, and even infuse a little humor to make them feel like a person—not just the person in a chair in Room 2.”
“To be able to talk to patients at eye level and reassure them they’ll get through this provides a lot of hope,” she says. “We see things come to fruition in clinical trials, so I always reassure our patients that a trial is not the end of the line for treatment. We’ve seen a lot of clinical trials come to fruition.”