A dream deferred can still be accomplished. That’s what Jen Boehm, BSN, RN, AAS, found with nursing.
“I wanted to be a nurse since high school. I had a fascination with medicine and science in general. I started school but ended up getting married and working with my husband for several years at our business," she says. When she was in her early 30s, the urge to pursue her dream returned and she went back to nursing school. "It was my fascination with science and medicine that drew me to nursing, and also a deep sense of belonging."
Her goal was to work at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, as her grandmother received palliative care here after being diagnosed with breast cancer. “I walked in here and it felt like a completely different environment than any other hospital that I had been in. I knew there was something very different at Roswell Park and it was something I wanted to be part of.”
During her nursing education, Jen spent two days on a rotation on the transplant wing. She fell in love with the job and so far has remained on the Transplant & Cellular Therapy Center for her entire 15 years at Roswell Park. Patients in that department tend to spend more time with their nurses as they remain hospitalized for longer periods of time during treatment, which allows bonds to be built between them and their care team.
“They’re a very special patient population. We become close with them. It can be very difficult when things don’t go the way we want them to, but being there through the good parts and the bad parts is all part of what we do. I know that I am doing my best for patients and their families when I am there with them and that is rewarding, even when the situation is sad.”
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She believes the patients also see the strong bonds between the nurses. “There is a strong camaraderie amongst us. We need to care about each other so we can care about our patients. We lean on each other as it’s a very difficult and emotional job,” Jen says.
That compassion and dedication to her team, as much as to her patients, inspired Jessica Roche, BSN, RN, to nominate Jen to be our Nurse of the Month for February.
“She is devoted to providing exceptional patient care on 5 East. Her knowledge and expertise in this specialty area is essential since there is quite the turnover with many of our long-time nurses having retired in the past year,” Roche says. “I have found myself leaning on Jen during some difficult times during work. Her experience with comfort care in particular was of great help to me, as she handles these difficult situations with calmness and grace and ensures her patients’ wishes are met and that they pass on with dignity.
“Not only is she a wonderful caretaker for our patients, but an anchor for providing comfort to their families,” Roche continues. “She is most deserving of this award and I simply cannot thank her enough for being such an amazing coworker, teammate and friend.”
Jen appreciates the recognition but insists her whole team deserves it. “It’s definitely an awesome team,” she says. “It’s all about caring for each other so that we care for our patients.”