PerfectServe’s Nurses of Note awards program honors nurses who deserve recognition for their remarkable resilience and unwavering dedication to their patients. In the second year of the Nurses of Note program, PerfectServe wants to shine a light on the integrity, perseverance, and compassion that nurses so regularly display in the course of caring for patients.
The incredible stories of these honorees paint a pretty clear picture of the people who populate this noble profession, and their experiences offer just a glimpse into the many ways they make the world a better place. Of the 200-plus nominations PerfectServe received, we selected a group of providers to spotlight during the month of May—which, of course, is home to National Nurses Week—and throughout the rest of 2022.
According to the Sarcoma Foundation of America, July is Sarcoma Awareness Month. This is a month-long recognition for cancers that occur in the bones and soft tissues of the body. In honor of this month, we profiled a nurse who works directly with this and other types of cancers on a daily basis. If you’re interested in supporting the Sarcoma Foundation of America, read more about their mission here.
Honoree 6: The Nurse Navigator and Staff Educator at Prisma Health’s Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic (Columbia, SC) — Julie Moreton
Meet Julie Moreton, MSN, RN, CPHON, and CPN. She’s been the Nurse Navigator in Prisma Health’s Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorder department since 2020. A nurse of 15 years, Julie now assists with new patient education and other teachings related to cancer treatment. On top of her educational role, she makes referrals to and from other institutions, works in care coordination between appointments, and ensures research protocols are being followed. Julie educates not only new and existing patients but also provides oncology-specific education for outpatient and inpatient nurses, promoting certification and professional development among staff in her department.
Before her current role, Julie served as the Oncology Educator for the Cancer and Blood Disorder inpatient and outpatient units at Prisma Health from 2014 to 2020. As she transitioned out of that role, she knew she wanted to continue offering her unit-specific educational functions to keep the nursing staff up-to-date on current best practices in cancer care. Julie is passionate about promoting certification and professional development among staff in her department. Early in her time at Prisma Health, she started championing several professional certifications for all nursing staff in the Children’s Hospital. Since 2015, she has been responsible for maintaining a contract that allows nurses to take these certifications at no cost to themselves. This is not a job requirement—Julie does this because of the value it brings to other nurses.
Julie’s current role as the Nurse Navigator includes teaching nurses all aspects of cancer care, such as placing central lines and the basics of chemotherapy. On top of this role, Julie also serves as the President of the local Association for Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses (APHON) chapter, which Julie calls the “gold standard for pediatric chemotherapy education for nurses.” APHON offers a two-day course for nurses to develop competency in administering chemotherapy and biotherapy to care for children receiving these treatments. The process of receiving the certification to teach APHON courses, however, is no easy feat. (Connect this and next paragraph maybe?)
To become certified, Julie and two other colleagues had first to meet the qualifications to apply for a grant to learn how to teach the APHON course. Back in 2016, Julie attended the annual APHON conference to become instructor certified so she could teach the courses herself. She currently teaches two to three classes per year and, in 2022, started offering the course virtually. Her lessons are available to nurses nationwide.
For her role in navigating the course of cancer care education and chemotherapy application, we at PerfectServe feel Julie is another nursing superhero to her patients and coworkers. Julie takes on her educational role with pride and continues to support other nurses as they further their education with multiple certifications. Thanks to Julie, nurses at Prisma Health and around the country are better prepared to provide care to cancer patients and families, making Julie an outstanding Nurse of Note!
Julie, we at PerfectServe are honored to highlight your role as the Nurse Navigator at Prisma Health. Your role in educating others and facilitating classes and certifications makes you a hero. Thank you for the education you provide and the work you do every day for patients, families, and coworkers. We are honored to call you a 2022 Nurse of Note!
In addition to learning about Julie’s various educational roles, we posed a few additional questions to get to know her better.
Why did you choose to become a nurse?
I chose to be a nurse because one of my favorite aunts is a nurse, and I wanted to be like her! I also had an emergency room experience getting stitches when I was young, and I remember being very interested in what was happening. I chose pediatric oncology nursing after volunteering at a summer camp for kids with cancer when I was in college. I visited one of my campers during her bone marrow transplant and was fascinated by pediatric oncology nursing.
What is the biggest lesson you learned while serving as a nurse throughout the pandemic?
The biggest lesson I learned was definitely flexibility. You are taught to be flexible in nursing school, but I had never experienced a time prior to the pandemic when nurses were asked to care for infectious patients without proper protective gear or care for patients outside their area of expertise. Many nurses are still experiencing change fatigue related to the near-constant updates received during the height of the pandemic.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self about serving in the healthcare field?
There are many things I probably would have tried to warn myself about, but the main one is emotional boundaries. In pediatric oncology, you face some very difficult days. I really struggled with maintaining emotional boundaries in my early years of practice. I don’t ever regret doing something that makes life for the family of a cancer patient easier, but I know now that it isn’t healthy to be so attached.
What do you do to relax after a stressful day?
I like having a physical outlet for stress, and I get exercise from walking my dog. Being out in nature always helps me gain a more positive perspective. I also like spending time with friends and watching comedies like The Office; laughter is a great way to relieve stress!
What changes would you like to see in the nursing field in the future?
I would love to see nurses receive fair wages, as well as more workplaces focusing on staffing retention. Some organizations really have nurse retention as a focus, and you can tell by how they treat their nursing staff. I would also love for nurses to eventually have the energy and motivation to engage in professional development and quality initiatives when they aren’t so burned out from the pandemic.
If you had to pick one song that describes you as a nurse, what would it be?
My song would probably be “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer. I’m nothing if not a hard worker! I was always willing to work nights, weekends, and overtime to make extra money.
Make sure to follow our blog as we publish in-depth profiles about more of our deserving Nurses of Note honorees throughout the year.
For more about Nurses of Note 2022, check out the full list of winners.