Funding for this year’s fellowship was generously provided by Mr. Robert “Bob” Lauterborn, a supporter of Lineberger and the NC Cancer Hospital, where his wife, Sylvia, received excellent oncology nursing care. The fellowship allows three undergraduate BSN students at Carolina to participate in a six-week, immersive program designed to stimulate the career interest and professional development of potential oncology nurses. Jackie Balliott, Madison Morgan, and Kaitlyn Pickert from the 2017 class of oncology nursing fellows.
Jackie Balliot: My immense passion for oncology nursing started at a young age and has continued to develop during my professional development as a current student nurse and future oncology nurse. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis at such a young age ignited a passion for me to pursue oncology as a nursing profession. Being a cancer survivor would allow me to bring an advanced level of empathy and a unique but vital skill set to this fellowship. For example, having had chemotherapy myself, I have a deep understanding of the many side effects that a nurse should anticipate after administration. Additionally, I have personally experienced nurses advocating on my behalf, and now it is my turn to advocate for each patient that I encounter. I look forward to sharing these experiences with others during the fellowship, as well as learning new skills necessary to be an effective and compassionate oncology nurse. Jackie’s hometown is Silva, NC.
Madison Morgan: My interest in oncology led to my initial decision to pursue nursing. I grew up observing how cancer affected people in my own family and community. My father’s experience as a cancer survivor particularly piqued my curiosity about both the physical and psychosocial impacts of the disease, even years into remission. From my personal experiences as a family member, hospital volunteer, and nursing student interacting with oncology patients and their providers, I developed a deeper understanding of the immense and positive impact a skilled nurse can have on patient satisfaction and wellbeing at all stages of care. To date, I have used my volunteer and work experiences to foster the strong interpersonal skills, empathy, and critical thinking required of an effective nurse. I want to continue to grow both personally and professionally by pursuing my passion for oncology nursing. Madison’s hometown is Burnsville, NC.
Kaitlyn Pickert: When I was young, my aunt passed away from a brain tumor. I was moved by the dedication and passion that the nurses had for my family during some of our darkest times. I decided then, I wanted to dedicate my nursing career to providing this specialized care to patients and families enduring their battle, and that decision has not wavered in fourteen years. My first clinical rotation was on the post-surgical oncology floor at UNC Hospitals. I loved taking care of each patient and this experience made my passion even stronger. I believe the fellowship will help me develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence that will be vital to my career as an oncology nurse. Kaitlyn’s hometown is Belmont, NC.
For more information on the Oncology Nursing Fellowship Program at UNC, please click here.