As we continue to honor the incredible dedication and skills of our talented and compassionate Navvisa certified oncology nurses during National Oncology Nursing Month, we wish to spotlight NICOLE MESSIER BSN, OCN, ONN-CG.
MEET NICOLE MESSIER
Nicole Messier has been in oncology nursing for 24 years, 16 of which have been as an oncology nurse navigator. Nicole received her BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) from the University of Vermont, followed by her OCN (Oncology Certified Nurse), and ONN-CG (Oncology Nurse Navigator-Certified Generalist).
What aspect of oncology nursing does Nicole find most interesting?
Nicole’s particular area of interest in oncology nursing is with Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. Early in her nursing career, Nicole worked as a primary nurse supporting a surgeon who treated patients with upper GI cancers. The surgeon was an inspiration to Nicole – he was an amazing physician and teacher who instilled his love and enthusiasm for his patients in her. From that point on, Nicole’s role as a primary nurse morphed into that of the GI Nurse Navigator. Nicole shared,
“This patient population is quite complex and challenging. I enjoy being part of the greater team providing support and care to these patients.”
What draws Nicole to oncology nursing?
From a young age, Nicole always knew she wanted to be a nurse. During her second year of nursing school, Kim’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. Kim was so impressed by the care and support her mother received from the oncology nurses that she knew that she wanted to explore this particular speciality for herself. In her senior year, Nicole had the opportunity to do a senior year elective rotation on the in-patient Oncology Unit and she instantly knew she had found her calling.
“I have loved being an oncology nurse and can’t imagine doing anything else. I strive to be a nurse that my patients can count on to provide the care and support they need during such a difficult time in their lives, to be a trusted advocate and confidant who they can count on to guide them through their cancer journey. My hope is that I am able to help make things easier for the patients and their caregivers.”
Nicole’s love of oncology nursing is reinforced through the relationships she creates with her patients. She shared one of her favorite personal stories of a 32-year-old patient, Amy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nicole was Amy’s primary nurse supporting her surgeon at the time of her diagnosis and they quickly formed a bond and friendship that continued to grow over the years. Nicole shared,
“I was able to support Amy and her family while she completed treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Amy did well with her treatments and she is cancer free 20 years later! What impresses me the most about Amy is that she took charge of her care and was a true advocate for herself during her cancer journey.”
Amy went on to seek employment at the American Cancer Society after her cancer diagnosis, eager to help others in their fight against cancer. Amy continues to work tirelessly to advocate for and educate others on the importance of prevention and early detection and works to raise money to help with cancer research. Amy then nominated Nicole for Cure Magazine’s 2013 Extraordinary Healers Award for Oncology Nursing.
And what is a “fun fact” many people might not know?
Despite living in the Northeast, Nicole absolutely hates the cold and snow!