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Alison Tray, Lead Inpatient APP, Hematology

As one of nine Advanced Practice Providers (APP) on her team, Alison Tray serves as the Lead Inpatient APP on the hematology and oncology floors at Smilow. Acting as a "team captain" for her fellow APPs, she serves as an advocate and leader for her group.

Beginning in January, Alison organized a multidisciplinary monthly teaching series open to nurses, PCAs, residents, interns and other APPs covering topics on how to facilitate end-of-life conversations, how to manage side effects of immunotherapy, as well as self-care techniques for providers and caregivers. Alison is currently working with the pharmacy department on a weekly teaching series on chemotherapy and biotherapy set to begin next month on North Pavilion 12 (NP12).

Alison's manager, Vanna Dest, MSN, APRN, BC, AOCN, applauds her leadership abilities, "Alison was appointed to the Lead APP position on her team in April 2017, and has provided support and leadership to her colleagues while fostering team building. She is a great asset to Smilow, her team, and the patients she cares for."

When Alison first joined Smilow as an oncology nurse, she knew she wanted to take the next step and become a nurse practitioner. She attended the Yale School of Nursing through their accelerated program and graduated with her Master's degree. During her time in this program, she worked in thoracic surgery, but missed medical oncology and she returned to NP 12.

In addition to leading her inpatient team, establishing learning opportunities for her colleagues in the North Pavilion, and acting as a clinical instructor for students, patients remain the central part of Alison's day. Working 12-hour shifts, relationships are easily formed with the patients on the floors she covers (11, 12, 14, 15). She performs procedures, facilitates family meetings, coordinates with palliative care, and attends to the day-to-day needs of the inpatient population. In the inpatient setting she has the privilege of working with individuals who are in all stages of their cancer journey from newly diagnosed, to those getting treatment, to patients who are transitioning to hospice care. But, as Alison says, it is the best part of her job.

"You get to have a high impact in a short but often critical period of time," she says. "Everyone who enters that patient's room makes a difference in that patient's experience, from the attending to the nurse to the PCA to the environmental service worker. With the sea of white coats and uniforms that float through, we know that a patient may not remember all our names, but we hope they remember how we made them feel; cared for and supported."