Cynthia Powers, DNP, MS, RN, knew at an early age that she was called to help others and pursue a career in healthcare. When she was a freshman in high school, her father was critically injured in a chemical explosion, suffering burns over 60 percent of his body. When he was released from the hospital, it was Powers who took over his care and rehabilitation. The experience instilled in her a passion for the nursing profession, and she has dedicated most of her nursing career to oncology nursing.
Now Vice President and Associate Chief of Nursing for City of Hope Orange County, Powers instills in others that same commitment to patients. She is leading a major initiative to bring oncology nurses who personify clinical excellence and compassionate care to Lennar Foundation Cancer Center, our comprehensive cancer center opening in Irvine in 2022, and to the four City of Hope Orange County locations currently serving patients.
Powers sat down to answer some key questions about oncology nursing opportunities at City of Hope Orange County. She explained how oncology nurses develop profound connections with patients and their families.
What is unique about being an oncology nurse?
Powers: As oncology nurses, we have the privilege of caring for patients and families at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. We’re given the opportunity to walk with an individual as they face cancer, celebrating their wins, and supporting them through their setbacks. Deep bonds are formed with patients and family members. It’s the hardest job that you’re ever going to love, and you will find something to love about it every day.
How central is oncology nursing to the mission of City of Hope Orange County?
Powers: Everything we do at City of Hope Orange County is for our patients, and nursing excellence is vital to successful outcomes for the patients who rely on us. We could never be as effective as we are without our top-ranked nursing staff, and we want to demonstrate that we appreciate them every day. In 2020-2021, City of Hope achieved Magnet Recognition, which is one of the highest honors in nursing and a recognition of the excellence of our nursing team. Only 9 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have received this prestigious designation. It truly highlights how our nurses are empowered and the ways in which they continually strive to excel and provide holistic, relationship-based care to our patients.
What kinds of oncology nursing opportunities are available at City of Hope Orange County?
Powers: City of Hope is fulfilling our promise to bring our highly specialized cancer care and research into Orange County. We deliver expert care through a network of four Orange County locations in Huntington Beach, Irvine Sand Canyon, Newport Beach Fashion Island, and Newport Beach Lido. And, we are opening a comprehensive cancer center in Irvine in 2022. We’re looking to hire the very best in nursing to care for our patients at all our clinical locations.
Do oncology nurses form a unique type of relationship with their patients?
Powers: Absolutely. Most oncology nursing is accomplished in the ambulatory setting — we coordinate all aspects of care for the patient on their journey to wellness from a holistic standpoint. It’s not a one-time intervention after which the patient is discharged; it’s ongoing. The relationship that grows out of providing that kind of care in that kind of environment can be highly beneficial to the patient and deeply rewarding for the nurse.
What are some of the intangibles that make City of Hope Orange County a fulfilling place to practice nursing?
Powers: Nurses are brave and dedicated individuals. They tirelessly serve our patients in our community, they put their own needs aside to take care of our patients and make sure they receive safe, expert, and compassionate care. We are extremely proud of our nurses, and we offer so many opportunities for them. We facilitate excellence in nursing by introducing new programs and maintaining a spirit of camaraderie, teamwork, innovation, and support. And we believe in upholding the integrity of the profession by delivering compassionate, quality, safe, and comprehensive care for our patients and families. Of course, to be meaningful, the mission needs to be acted on daily. We practice relationship-based caring, and we help nurses honor their patients and recognize the powerful impact patients have on the nurses’ lives.
Oncology nursing is more than a profession, it’s more than a career, it is a true calling. Our oncology nurses show us what can be achieved when people are at their best. I’m looking forward to welcoming some of the brightest and most compassionate individuals in our profession to City of Hope Orange County.
City of Hope Orange County is hiring. Learn more: cityofhope.org/oc/HopeIsAtWork