University of Virginia doctor of nursing practice student Laura Trissel (BSN `07) was recently selected from among 2,000 applicants for the 2016 $20,000 American Cancer Society Graduate Scholarship in Cancer Nursing Practice grant to fund her studies. The grant – which will cover Trissel’s last two years of tuition at UVA – is offered annually to a master’s or doctoral student specializing in oncology nursing.
Trissel – who grew up in Harrisonburg, Va. – first encountered oncology nurse and UVA professor Gina DeGennaro as an undergraduate, a mentor who, she says, inspired her professional path into cancer nursing.
“She instilled in me a love and passion for oncology nursing given her depth of knowledge about the unique needs of this population,” says Trissel, “and I always admired how much she loved her work.”
Trissel – who continues to work two days a week while enrolled in full-time coursework, while also tending a two year-old son with husband Derik – finds the “science behind tumor biology fascinating and complex,” and is energized by the “ever-changing landscape of how we treat cancer.” She’s particularly interested in ovarian cancer, which is often diagnosed at a late stage in patients who often undergo long courses of chemotherapy and endure debilitating side effects and uncomfortable symptoms.
“I’d love to find better symptom management strategies and early interventions (both medical and emotional) to help these women and their families through their journeys,” says Trissel.
Trissel, an oncology nurse at Sentara RMH Hahn Cancer Center in Harrisonburg since 2007, also earned an Oncology Nursing Society Foundation doctoral scholarship last month. She will earn her doctor of nursing practice degree from UVA in 2018.