Regional Oncology Collaboration With a Nurse’s Touch
“I’ve never been risk-averse,” says Sheila Evans, MS, RN, AOCN, the recently appointed oncology program administrator for Johns Hopkins Medicine for the national capital area. It’s her relish for ever-greater challenges that led her to take on this newly created role overseeing all oncology programs in the national capital area, which includes Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital.
“Together, we can take oncology care in the DC region to the next level,” says Evans. “It’s a natural partnership, like a marriage—two distinct individuals that make something greater.”
Evans jumped into her new role by collaborating with hospital leadership on an innovative redesign of the Sibley Infusion Center. Evaluating the Center from the patients’ perspective, the team created a light-filled, spacious environment where every aspect was designed to improve patients’ comfort, privacy, and safety. Catherine Bishop, DNP, NP, oncology nurse practitioner, found that Evans’ leadership made the transition to the new location smooth for nurses and patients alike. “She’s able to anticipate potential issues and resolve them, and she empowers us as nurses to take that kind of initiative as well.”
Bishop, who reports directly to Evans, also sees the advantages of having someone with an oncology nursing background in the program administrator role. She notes that because Evans spent most of her nursing career in oncology in a variety of settings, including 10 years previously at Sibley, she is “extremely supportive of the nursing staff” and “deeply understands both the nurses’ and the patients’ perspectives.”
Evans believes her experience has prepared her well for her new role: helping the oncology programs at Sibley and Suburban to strengthen and enrich their partnership with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center to set the stage for Hopkins signature oncology in the area. She anticipates new developments in palliative care, survivorship, and clinical research; she notes that as more JHM oncology physician investigators come to the capital region, more opportunities are opening up for Sibley and Suburban patients to participate in clinical trials.
Although these plans are still in their earliest stages, Evans is aware that they’re already being followed with great interest. “The pressure is on to be successful. These respected community oncology programs at Sibley and Suburban provide a wonderful foundation upon which to build the innovation and excellence of Sidney Kimmel oncology programs.”