Mary Vecchio RN, MSN, APN, OCN, Cancer Outreach Nurse Practitioner for the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center was selected as Nursing Spectrum's Regional (New York and New Jersey) winner for Community Service at the Nursing Spectrum Excellence Awards Gala held on June 4th.
Mary Vecchio, RN, MSN, APN, OCN, Cancer Outreach Nurse Practitioner for the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center was selected as Nursing Spectrum's Regional (New York and New Jersey) winner for Community Service at the Nursing Spectrum Excellence Awards Gala held on June 4th.
is now in the running to be selected from a national pool in which six Excellence Award winners will be chosen from the following categories: Advancing and Leading the Profession, Clinical Care, Community Service, Management, Mentoring, and Teaching.
According to Nursing Spectrum
, the winner of this award epitomizes all that is best within the profession of nursing.
was taken by surprise by her
win "I am completely humbled to represent this group of nurses.
I grew up in a household where you were taught to give.
When you give truly and freely of yourself, you set yourself up to succeed."
Part of Ms. Vecchio's
role at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center
is to educate the community on cancer awareness.
recognizes that the best information is useless if you do not get the attention of the people you want to teach.
has worked to develop tools and teaching methods that actively catch people's attention and is resilient enough to keep going back until she
affects the change she
Sun Safety Program: Mary Vecchio, RN, MSN, APN, OCN of the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center talks to children at Bright Tomorrows Child Care Center at Hunterdon Medical Center about sun safety using her teaching tool "The Great Hot Dog Experiment.
Pictured (left to right) Evan Gambrill of Ringoes, Scott Veneziale of Flemington and Jake Lachow of Flemington listen to Mrs Vecchio
sun screen on one half of a hot dog, and leave the other half "bare.
They are then instructed to put the hot dog in an aluminum pan and then place the pan in the sun and told to make daily journal entries about what they observe.
They hypothesize what might happen, and document those hypotheses for later discussion.
calls the students "sun scientists," and talks to them about the importance of journaling their observations so they can discuss their findings at a later time.
then goes back to the school a few days or weeks later to discuss what the students have observed.
On more than one occasion, however, the students could not wait for her
to return to their school, and have called her
at the office to give her
updates on the hot dog.
"One side of the hot dog is shriveling and getting smaller!
said one group
of kindergarten students who called to excitedly tell her
what they observed.
returns to the school to discuss the results of their experiment, she
brings sunscreen for everyone.
"The sun rays are so intense that they can "cook" the hot dog, while the sunscreen protects the surface of the skin which demonstrates the effects of sunscreen" explained Ms. Vecchio
By using something as simple as a hot dog and the sun, she
communicates an incredibly important message to students on a level they can not only understand, but share with their parents.
In the past two years, Ms. Vecchio
has spoken over 3,600 people at community fairs, presentations, screenings and personal encounters.
Funding through the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central & South Jersey Affiliate has allowed Ms. Vecchio
to create the "VIP Program of Hunterdon County," which educates women who are 65 years and older to assure that they are receiving their annual screening mammogram.
"Statistics have shown that 46% of women covered by Medicare in Hunterdon County do not get their annual mammogram.
The goal of the VIP
program is to identify barriers that are preventing women from receiving this valuable exam and educate the women on the importance of obtaining their annual mammogram" explained Ms. Vecchio
In 2007, Ms. Vecchio
presented at the 32nd Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress on the VIP
In addition, she
presented on her
work with the Hispanic population and improving their cervical cancer screening rates in Hunterdon County at the 34th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress
in San Antonio, Texas held this year.
outreach goes beyond the boundaries of her
She is an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society, as well as serving as a sacristan, Eucharistic minister, and a religious formation instructor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church and volunteers with her daughter's girl scout troop in Whitehouse Station, where she resides.
This coming Fall, Ms. Vecchio
will attend Nursing Spectrum's
National Nursing Excellence Awards.
From creating new programs and working within the community to helping patients overcome obstacles, the accomplishments and efforts of Ms. Vecchio
will continue to impact the community.