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Nursing students Elizabeth Baldwin, Michael Lowry and Morgan Van Den Eynde were honored at the conclusion of the UNC Lineberger-Sylvia Lauterborn Oncology Nursing Fellowship.

Elizabeth Baldwin, Michael Lowry, Robert “Bob” Lauterborn and Morgan Van Den Eynde at the luncheon on June 20.

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC School of Nursing held a luncheon to honor undergraduate nursing students Elizabeth Baldwin, Michael Lowry and Morgan Van Den Eynde, who just completed their UNC Lineberger-Sylvia Lauterborn Oncology Nursing Fellowships.

UNC Lineberger Director Shelton Earp, MD, the Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research at the UNC School of Medicine, and UNC School of Nursing Dean Nilda Peragallo Montano, DrPH, RN, FAAN, opened the luncheon by expressing their gratitude for Robert “Bob” Lauterborn, who funded the fellowship in memory of his late wife, Sylvia. This was the program’s third class of fellows.

“This fellowship has provided a wonderful opportunity for these fellows to become quality nurses and we are so very thankful,” said Montano.

Earp shared that some recent global experiences at UNC Lineberger, including visiting teams from England and Malawi, reminded him how fortunate he is to be working with oncology teams that not only value education but understand the human side of this disease, especially oncology nurses.

The six-week fellowship focuses on an immersion of inpatient and outpatient oncology experiences. Working closely with Ashley Bryant, PhD, RN, coordinator of the UNC Lineberger-Sylvia Lauterborn Oncology Nursing Fellowship and assistant professor in the School of Nursing, Susie Mason MSN, RN, OCN, oncology clinical nursing education specialist at the NC Cancer Hospital, is the backbone of this fellowship. Mason tailors the nursing fellow’s experiences based on their clinical interest.

Bob Lauterborn said he created the UNC Lineberger-Sylvia Lauterborn Oncology Nursing Fellowship to express his gratitude for the care Sylvia received at the NC Cancer Hospital.

Born in Crumlin, Wales in 1939, Sylvia considered a career in nursing – she went as far as to be a student nurse at Charing Cross Hospital in London – before she decided to become a stewardess for Pan American Airways. She met Bob while she was in Queens, New York, for Pan Am training. The pair were married in September of 1963, and they eventually moved to Chapel Hill when Bob joined the University of North Carolina faculty. Sylvia was an avid traveler who visited 83 countries. “She used to say, ‘you will never visit as many as me, you will never beat my record,'” Bob joked at the luncheon. Before she lost her life to pancreatic cancer in 2013, Sylvia asked that her ashes be sprinkled at sea, so she could reach the countries she never visited.

Bryant, in her comments on the history of the fellowship said the fellowship, “highlights the bright life that Sylvia Lauterborn lived.”

In addition to being honored at the luncheon, the three fellows presented findings from their evidenced-based research projects which will be expanded in their honor projects at the UNC School of Nursing.

Lowry, who was previously a hydrologist, dedicated his talk, “Oncology Nurse Roles in Early Palliative Communicate and Patient Advocacy,” to his late mother, whom he cared for while she was being treated for cancer.

Baldwin shared her findings from her research, “Teleoncology as an Intervention for Rural Oncology Patients,” and Van Den Eynde presented on the “Impact of the Team Rounding on Interprofessional Communication on Inpatient Oncology Units.”

In her closing remarks, Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, director of cancer survivorship at UNC Lineberger and a professor in the UNC School of Nursing, said “We would love to be able to offer this fellowship to more nursing students. Just think of how many people with cancer these three have and will touch. We need the best and brightest nurses to become oncology nurses – our patients deserve no less.”