Clinical Nurse, Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant, Tower 7D

Nominated by Katie Fillipon, MS, RN, OCN, FNP-BC, nurse director, Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant; with letters of support from Cathy Rowland, MPH, MSN, RN, OCN, BMTCN, clinical nurse educator for Medical Oncology; and a letter from the wife of a patient

What sets Tracey Slaven, BSN, RN, apart is how she “greets each situation with an open and present heart,” says Katie Fillipon, MS, RN, OCN, FNP-BC, nurse director of Tower 7D, Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant. “She comes to work each day with one objective: to ease the suffering of others and to lighten the burden of patients’ family members, and she does this time and time again … This ‘way of being’ allows her to enter each patient room with calm and healing energy and open the door to a caring and authentic relationship.”

In her narrative, Slaven reflects on her time caring for a gentleman with acute myeloid leukemia whose greatest joys came from spending time with his family and being an active member of his community. He was very engaged in his care and looked to Slaven to help him understand everything he could about how his disease was progressing and what complications could arise.

As Slaven learned his story, he also made a point to get to know Slaven and learn about her life, family and passions. They had meaningful conversations about his life, health and mortality. After a short time in rehab, the patient was readmitted to Tower 7D. Slaven was present with him and his family the day before he passed away and recalls how calm and at peace he was, knowing what was about to happen. He thanked everyone for their compassionate care and assured them that they did everything they could to change the outcome.

“As a nurse, there are so many important and meaningful aspects of care,” wrote Slaven. “One that resonates constantly for me is the importance of being present, truly listening to patients, getting to know them for who they are beyond their illness.”

The wife of a cancer patient whom Slaven cared for called her “an angel,” describing the remarkable commitment, patience, strength and support Slaven provided during a difficult time in this family’s life.

Cathy Rowland, MPH, MSN, RN, OCN, BMTCN, clinical nurse educator for Medical Oncology, praised Slaven for her natural ability to teach, guide, protect and empower new oncology nurses as a preceptor.

“Tracey’s low-key but powerful commitment to high-quality care sets the expectation for the new oncology nurses,” wrote Rowland, who went on to describe how Slaven helped guide and empower a nurse new to the unit in providing end-of-life care to a patient and his family.

“Tracey guided and empowered her nurse colleague to respond to her patient’s needs at the end of life,” said Rowland.

Slaven has worked as a clinical nurse in BWH’s Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant unit since 1989. She holds a BSN from St. Joseph’s College.