October 1, 2012

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

Almost anything can affect the success of a business. Economics, location ...Read More

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Healthcare Heroes

The Quiet Champions of Healing and Hope

Sarah Cutler, Di Lewis, Sarah Ryther Francom

October 1, 2012

Kane says that the most rewarding and challenging part of her career has been working on free cancer screening clinics for the underserved. While it has been challenging to fund the clinics, the reward of being able to provide life-saving screening exams to a population that often goes without has been well worth the work.

“There is no limit to how you can use your skills and compassion to serve others. Your first job may simply be a stepping-stone to finding your niche,” Kane says. “After all, it took me 17 years to find my passion for cancer care. However, the experiences along the way were invaluable, and paved the way for my current career satisfaction.”

Karen Nye, BSN, RN, CCRN
Resource Nurse Manager,
University of Utah Hospital and Clinics

Karen Nye was a healthcare provider long before it was her career. After her parents were diagnosed with terminal illnesses within eight months of each other, Nye became a physical and emotional caregiver while attending high school and nursing school. That experience made her decide early on to go into healthcare.

“I have been the ‘family’ as a recipient of the healthcare system for nine years and now I feel it is my role to give back to those individuals in their greatest time of need,” Nye says.

After eight years as an intensive care nurse, Nye has been the resource nurse manager at University of Utah Hospital and Clinics for the past six years. Her advice for others is, “Listen to your employees who are doing the work. As a leader it is so easy to fall into what you think the solution is. The solution often lies within the hands of your employees.”

Although Nye’s current position is a managerial role, her focus has always been on patients. These days she is not typically involved in direct patient care, yet Nye makes it her top priority to provide mentorship, leadership and education to those who are providing direct patient care.

“I see it as our patients, our people. They have jobs, pets, hobbies, friends and family that have all stopped upon their admission to the hospital,” Nye says. “…Our patients often relinquish all control to us as healthcare providers. If I can bring one small piece of normalcy or inner peace back to the patient then I have done my job. I think it is important for every patient to have the opportunity to be remembered that as a patient they are still people while under my care.”

Pat Barker
Huntsman Cancer Institute

At age 45, Pat Barker became a victim of early-onset macular degeneration and lost her eyesight. She recalls thinking at the time, “At least it’s not cancer.” Shortly after, Barker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but her spirit wasn’t shaken. Determined to beat the particularly deadly form of cancer, Barker took part in a clinical trial, which involved 18 months of chemo, and survived.

Today, Barker focuses on helping individuals who are fighting their own battle with cancer. For nearly 10 years, Barker has been volunteering at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). Every Friday afternoon, Barker brings snacks and good cheer to HCI patients. “I know how overwhelming cancer can be, and I know what a difference an encounter with a pleasant, smiling and helpful person can be,” Barker says.

During her time as a volunteer, Barker has clocked approximately 900 hours of volunteer service and was recently named HCI’s volunteer of the year.

“Before Pat goes home for the day—but after she’s made sure no one needs anything else—she makes sure the volunteer workroom is stocked and organized for the following week, collecting and sorting donated magazines, restocking snack and book carts, and putting away hats and blankets—all with a smile,” says Linda Aagard, HCI’s director of public affairs.

“I can’t say those 18 months [of chemo] were fun, but they were an eye opening experience,” Barker says. “By volunteering at HCI, I hope to ease the fear of the unknown that cancer patients suffer. I do what I can to let them know that at HCI they are not just their disease, but also a person worthy of respect and kindness.”

Dr. Lance Bryce
Chief of Surgery and Trauma Director, Brigham City Community Hospital, MountainStar Canyon Surgical Clinic;
Volunteer Medical Director, Brigham City Metro SWAT team

It was the TV show “Emergency!” that helped a 7-year-old Lance Bryce decide what he wanted to do. Now Dr. Bryce is a real-life version of the actors he used to watch.

Bryce spends his days saving lives as a trauma surgeon, chief of surgery and trauma director at Brigham City Community Hospital and MountainStar Canyon Surgical Clinic. Then he swaps uniforms and spends his free time volunteering as the medical director for the Brigham City Metro SWAT team.

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