“It’s very gratifying helping patients and if I can bring a positive attitude to their day and help them through a difficult time, it’s very rewarding.”

When you think of clinical research, you may picture doctors and scientists collecting data or patients trying new treatment regimens. However, some very important people are missing from this picture: clinical research nurses.

“I would like to say thank you to my coworkers and Roswell Park for allowing me to come to a place where I love my job every day, and I choose to stay here."
“I love the people I work with,” says MaryEllen "Mel" Lenz, RN, AAS, who admits being “in shock” when she received the Nurse of the Month award. “I love my job, the people I work with and I love the patients.”
Oncology nursing provides the opportunity and privilege to interact with patients and their families at a difficult time in their lives. We are caregivers, cheerleaders, confidants and, in many cases, close friends.
Day in and day out, the nurses at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center provide outstanding care to their patients, doing their best to lift spirits and make things a little brighter for people going through a difficult time.
"You can’t let your guard down for a moment, especially when you work with immunocompromised patients. I was afraid if I had been exposed, I could be passing this on to our patients.”

“They know it’s scary, but they never hesitate. It’s about the patients,” Renee DeWald, Clinical Nurse Manager of the 6 North and 5 East floors at Roswell Park, says of the staff on 6N, the designated floor for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Ashley Keppel draws upon the memory of her late friend, Jake Madonia, to inspire her day-to-day at Roswell. A nurse manager at Roswell, and later a patient, Madonia taught Keppel that patient advocacy would be one of her biggest roles as a nurse.

As we mark National Nurses Day and the beginning of National Nurses Week, it’s fitting to remember that in the United States, the first professional training programs for nurses grew out of the Civil War.
COVID-19 did not arrive with a set of instructions. Healthcare professionals everywhere have had to quickly adopt new practices and improvise to solve problems they never faced before.

I’ve never taken my career choice for granted. I always knew that I wanted to take care of people during times when they couldn’t care for themselves. Seeing how this has manifested in my life has been a true blessing.