Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., May 9, 2014 – Oncology nurses are involved in more than just administering therapies to cancer patients. In addition to providing treatment, nurses at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey also play a key role in research, peer mentoring and the development of both patient and nursing education materials. To celebrate their work, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey this week honored its nurses with its annual Oncology Nursing Excellence Awards during the Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture. The scholarship awards are given to recognize the nursing expertise at the Cancer Institute.

Noted as an “integral member” of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology team for two decades, Beth Savage, MSN, CPNP, CPON of Brielle was selected by fellow nurses and doctors as this year’s award recipient in the category of Advanced Practice Nurse. Savage is hailed by her colleagues for her longtime service to the Cancer Institute in administrative, patient care and research roles, as well as for her mentoring and preceptor roles for nurses studying at area universities. Team members also describe Savage as having a “fantastic depth of knowledge” and admire her role in volunteering for various national committees and education initiatives that support the pediatric hematology/oncology field. Chandrika Jeyamohan, RN, MSN, APN-C, CCRC, Susan Pillet, MSN, RN, CPNP, CPON, and Donna Plaxe, MSN, CPNP, CPON also were nominees in this category.

Heralded by her peers as “going the extra mile” for both patients and colleagues, Trish Dennigan, BSN, RN, OCN of Milltown was chosen for the award in the Generalist Nurse category. Dennigan, who is part of the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at the Cancer Institute, is described by fellow nurses as a “leader” in mentoring new nurses and having broad oncology knowledge and clinical skills including patient education and symptom assessment. Sherri Damare, RNC, MSN, OCN; Josephine Machado, BSN, RN, OCN; Marilyn Mundy, RN, and Dawn Yuhas, RN, CPHON, also were nominees in this category.

This year’s Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture featured motivational humorist Yvonne Conte. In her talk “The Power of Positive Humor,” Conte provided insight on how one can handle the ‘ups and downs’ of home, the workplace and life in general. Through her own anecdotes about career change, death, illness and other life-changing experiences, she shared strategies on how to maintain a positive outlook using humor as a tool.

The lectureship and Nursing Excellence Awards are underwritten in part by the Elizabeth Gibby Osborne Lecture and Scholarship Fund. Because of Mrs. Osborne’s strong belief in education, her husband Bill established the fund after her death from cancer in 2004 to support peer learning opportunities for oncology nurses at the Cancer Institute. “Whether delivering patient care, engaging in research or working on education initiatives, it is important to continue to learn new strategies in managing the daily challenges in our profession,” notes Carla Schaefer, BSN, RN, OCN, nurse manager of the adult treatment area at the Cancer Institute. “Because nursing education and professional development is very important to us, we are glad to be able to offer professional development in the form of guest speakers through the Osborne Lecture. Such education is vital in helping our nurses provide optimal care for our patients.”

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New JerseyRutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Shore Medical Center, Somerset Medical Center, The University Hospital and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.