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Compassion Guides Patients’ Cancer Journey

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    Karen Henry

    Karen Scanlon Henry

    As a hematology-oncology nurse at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at Kendall, Karen Scanlon Henry touches people’s lives every day. “It is very rewarding for me to be able to help patients at one of the most vulnerable points of their lives, and guide them and their family members through their cancer journey.”

    In her daily work, Henry says she focuses on the University of Miami Common Values of excellence, compassion, and teamwork. “At Sylvester, we deliver the highest level of care to cancer patients in a very compassionate way,” she says. “We also have a great team that goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide support to our patients and families. We educate them about their options and make sure they are well informed every step of the way.”

    Since joining the Miller School of Medicine in 2002, Henry has worked in radiation oncology as well as medical oncology. In her current role, she helps train student nurse practitioners and has developed an Oral Chemotherapy Adherence Clinic. “Along with caring for patients, we are a revenue-producing department that supports other functions at UM, such as medical research,” she says.

    A native of Miami, Henry grew up in Coral Gables in a ‘Canes family, going to UM football games every fall. “My dad went to the University of Miami and my mom worked at the law library,” says Henry, who earned her B.S. in nursing from UM in 1983 and her M.S. in nursing in 2004. Her son Erik is a senior engineering student at UM as well. “I’m one of those people who bleed orange and green,” she says.

    Henry says she loves nursing because she can help patients and families in so many ways, while growing and developing as a health care professional. “I started at Jackson Memorial Hospital as a labor and delivery nurse,” she says. “Since then, I’ve been a school nurse, a pediatrics nurse, and a nurse manager, as well as working in oncology-hematology.”

    Reflecting on her current role, Henry says she’s inspired each day by her patients, particularly those with terminal cancer. “Not everyone with cancer gets better, so we try to make each day of their journey as meaningful as possible for them,” she says. “With our team, they know they’re not alone.”

    DIRECCT Talk focuses on the ways faculty and staff exemplify the DIRECCT values—diversity, integrity, respect, excellence, compassion, creativity, and teamwork—that drive UM’s culture.


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