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My Career: Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Student Fellowship Program

- Catherine Considine, Stamford, Conn.

Catherine Considine writes about her summer experience at CHOP in a unique oncology fellowship that solidified her desire to work with pediatric cancer patients.  

Senior Catherine Considine (bottom row, center) enjoyed her Flynn Fellowship in oncology at CHOP this past summer. She and the other Flynn fellows there received a bracelet in memory of Mr. Flynn's wife who died from cancer.

“This past summer, I had the absolute honor to be one of the five individuals selected to participate in the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Student Fellowship Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This program was created to stimulate the career interest and foster the professional development of potential Oncology Nurses. It has always been a dream of mine to work on a pediatric oncology floor and this summer set me up for a future that I am very much looking forward to.

Catherine (2nd from right), along with other Flynn fellows.

During this ten week program, I worked side-by-side with a nurse and developed professional skills on both the inpatient and outpatient pediatric oncology units while being exposed to neuro oncology, leukemias, lymphomas, solid tumors, neurofibromatosis, bone marrow transplants, clinical trial treatments, survivorship, and hematology. I also shadowed various nurses and nurse practitioners in specialty programs such as bone marrow transplant and radiation.

Catherine (left) and other Flynn fellows proudly display their certificates.

One of my favorite aspects of the program was the weekly “Lunch and Learn” sessions where key hospital staff members provided additional education for the five of us Fellows. Throughout the Fellowship, I researched the topic of non-pharmacological pain mechanisms to reduce pain and anxiety in the pediatric population and then presented to the oncology staff the evidence that I found in my study.

My experience this summer was quite humbling. It was so incredible to be a part of these children’s stories and witness hundreds of stories of strength, perseverance, determination, and fight. I am very excited for what the future of nursing has in store for me. I am eager to use the skills that I have acquired over the past few years and more specifically this past summer to comfort children with cancer physically, mentally, and emotionally. When I contemplate life after graduation, and thanks to this Fellowship program, I see myself on a pediatric oncology floor with bright shoes and scrubs that are covered with smiley faces and teddy bears. I see myself making an impact on a daily basis and being a part of a fighter’s fight to overcome cancer. And boy, I can’t wait!”