June 23, 2015 | by Jennifer Grant
Although most cancer occurs in older adults, the bulk of cancer research doesn't focus on this vulnerable and fast-growing population.
City of Hope and its Cancer and Aging Research Team aim to change that, and they're getting a significant boost from Professional Practice Leader Peggy Burhenn, R.N., M.S., C.N.S. As the 2015 recipient of the Oncology Nursing Society's Excellence in Care of the Older Adult with Cancer Award, Burhenn is calling attention to the overarching need for such care, as well as to City of Hope's efforts and its progress.
The Oncology Nursing Society is a national organization for oncology nurses that supports education, research and certification. It is the largest organization of its kind in the U.S. and sets standards for oncology care. It gives this particular award each year "to recognize and support an oncology nurse who demonstrates age-sensitive health interventions, quality care, and symptom management to older adult patients with cancer." Burhenn received a similar award from the Los Angeles chapter of the organization in fall 2014.
“It is truly an honor for me to receive this award,” Burhenn said. “I accept it not only for me but for my colleagues who are taking the journey with me to improve care for older adults, specifically the geriatric resource nurses, geriatric patient care assistants and other members of the Geriatric Resource Interdisciplinary Team, which I like to call GRIT.”
The award “really shines a light on the work we are doing at City of Hope to focus our research and patient care efforts on older adults with cancer,” Burhenn said. “We are a NICHE-designated (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) senior-friendly hospital, which shows we have implemented practices to help improve care for older adults. I hope this award will help us continue our efforts to add these programs and practices.”
Burhenn also hopes that the award will help her raise awareness about the need for nursing research, especially in geriatric oncology.
In addition to her work at City of Hope, Burhenn is active in NICHE and the International Society of Geriatric Oncology.
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