by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Stephenson Cancer Center houses the state’s largest and most comprehensive oncology practice, providing a unique resource for patients seeking advanced, research-driven multidisciplinary treatment. Stephenson houses more than 100 cancer experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. -Stephenson Cancer Center, MDC-
At Stephenson Cancer Center, you will find a multitude of professionals in all different areas. With friendly smiles all around, the atmosphere is comforting. One extraordinary individual is Daphne Burnett, APRN-CNS, Nurse Navigator, GI Surgical Oncology at Stephenson Cancer Center, MDC.
Asking Daphne how she decided to become a nurse and her interest in being a nurse navigator, she replied, “I was chronically ill as a child and I was in the hospital over one hundred times by the time I was in my twenties. My aunt was a nurse and I was around a lot of nurses quite a bit. According to my mother, when I was three years old, I had decided that I would be a nurse; I just knew I wanted to help people just like all the nurses had helped me through the years.”
Daphne started out in the medical field early in life. “I was a candy striper when I was fourteen years old in the hospital where my aunt was the director of nurses and I worked there for two years. When I was sixteen, I was a nursing assistant and started working in the hospital as a nurse’s aide. Then, I moved to Weatherford to go to school, where I worked at the hospital there. I finished paramedic school and did both so I would have broad experiences in emergency.”
Daphne completed her bachelor degree in nursing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and her master’s program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Daphne has been a nurse for thirty years and has been a nurse navigator for six years. Her first job as a nurse was in the pediatric ICU at children’s hospital. “I was actually a charge nurse there at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing. I left that position and got my Masters, and taught nursing school,” Daphne commented.
Several mentors encouraged Daphne along the way. “There was Lou Reichmann, Cindy Faust and Pat Meyer just to name a few. These three ladies were very good mentors,” Daphne commented.
“I have always enjoyed every job that I have ever had,” Daphne said. “My favorite part of my job is the relationships that I develop with the patients and being able to help them. I work with great co-workers, and we have amazing surgeons and a wonderful staff,” she added.
What qualities do you think make a good nurse? “I think a nurse has to have compassion and empathy. A nurse needs to understand the principles of the job and enjoy what she is doing. I think a nurse needs to be an advocate for the patient, and also have critical thinking skills,” Daphne explained.
Asking Daphne what she thought the most rewarding part of her job was, she replied, “The most rewarding part of my job is having a good outcome of the patient. It is such a good feeling when a patient comes in and gives me a hug on a return visit and that makes it all worthwhile; it can be so rewarding and it just makes me happy. I am so grateful that I am able to help others.”
How would you describe yourself overall? “I am definitely an advocate with my patients. Sometimes, I may come across pushy but that is because I will do whatever I need to do to get the patient taken care of,” Daphne said with a smile. “I’m actually a happy person and I laugh with my patients and with my co-workers, all in a loving way, of course.”
One of her hobbies is traveling. “I like to travel and I especially like going on cruises. My long time best friend and I have been on several cruises together, just traveling and having fun. On the last cruise, I even learned to snorkel,” she said.
If you could sum up your life in two words, what would those two words be? “Considering that my life always seems to be changing, I would have to say always changing.”