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Samantha Herlihy, Nurse, NP 15

After joining Yale New Haven Health in July 2015 as a Clinical Nurse 2, Samantha Herlihy knew working on the oncology floors at Smilow was meant to be. As an undergraduate at UConn, she planned to work as a psychiatric nurse upon graduation because she enjoyed the psycho-social needs of that patient population. However, after completing her senior year capstone project on a general oncology floor, she changed course and decided to shift her focus to oncologic nursing.

Samantha found it was the perfect balance of medical and psychiatric nursing, and when she joined Smilow full time, she started on the 14th floor working with mostly gyn-onc post-operative patients. The experience initially was much different than nursing school, but she was bolstered by the support of her colleagues and a wonderful preceptor, and quickly adjusted.

Samantha's transition into her full-time role was also bolstered by the strength of the patients she saw each day. On NP 14, she cared for mostly female patients who were coping with breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers, and she was moved by their eye-opening strength. Two years later in the fall of 2017, Samantha transferred to NP 15 to increase her experience in acute care. This move has given Samantha the opportunity to flourish. She is an active member of the Nursing Research Committee at YNHH and was ecstatic to have the opportunity to travel to the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) conference in Denver, Colorado and present a poster on 'Coping Strategies for Staff Caring for Actively Dying Patients: Implementation of Guided Imagery and Staff Perception of Compassion Fatigue.'

In just two and a half years at Smilow, Samantha has been able to grow and spread her wings thanks to the support and encouragement of her peers and managers. "I am very proud to work at Smilow Cancer Hospital and I'm proud of my coworkers and friends," she notes. "The teamwork - especially within a big organization, has been incredible."

"Having the patient relationships and supportive coworkers, it has been a wonderful experience for me; I learn something new every day."