Oncology Nursing Society honors Fox Chase Cancer Center nurse with Radiation Therapy Nursing Award


ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA Deborah Watkins Bruner, R.N., M.S.N., Ph.D., director of the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program (PRAP) at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa., is the recipient of the 2004 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Excellence in Radiation Therapy Nursing award. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and strong dedication to oncology nursing and radiation therapy.

Criteria for the award are measured on whether the candidate is a recognizable expert in the field of radiation oncology through publications, presentations or peer reviews; has made significant contributions to professional or patient education, clinical practice or nursing research and is seen as a role model by other radiation oncology nurses.

"Whether I am doing patient care or research, I never stop being a nurse," said Bruner. "Nurses focus on the individual and not just the disease. In a high tech environment like radiation therapy it is very important for the nurse on the team to be constantly thinking about the needs of the patient and their family, while others focus on the treatment machines and eradicating the tumor."

Currently, Bruner focuses much of her attention on enhancing the participation of minorities in clinical studies. "Through the involvement of minorities and other underrepresented groups, we can better understand the development of prostate cancer, better ways to detect it, improve treatment, and possibly prevent the disease," said Bruner. Other research interests include quality of life assessment and economic, sexual and urinary function after prostate cancer therapy.

In addition to the Oncology Nursing Society, Bruner is the vice-chair for outcomes of the National Cancer Clinical Trials Cooperative Research Group, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and a member of the Health Services Research Committee of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiologists and Oncologist. She is also a long time volunteer with the Philadelphia division of the American Cancer Society, where she is currently serving a second term on the Board of Directors. In addition to her memberships, Bruner is on the editorial board for Cancer Nursing and has co-written over 40 publications.

"I find my work very rewarding," concluded Bruner. "I am very honored that the Oncology Nursing Society has recognized my efforts with this award."

In 1989, Bruner started at Fox Chase as a clinical nurse specialist in the radiation oncology department. Bruner has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about prostate cancer within the community since the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program was founded in 1996.

After earning her B.S. in Nursing from West Chester University in 1978, Bruner went on Widener University to obtain her M.S. in oncology nursing. Bruner later returned to Widener University for a second M.S. in nursing administration. In 1999, Bruner received her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

The award is supported by Varian medical systems. As part of the award, Bruner received a $1000 grant to aide in her further research and work.

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