Courage, Joy, Compassion, Care: Sister Linda’s Spirit Lives On

Today Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center selected its fourth annual Sister Linda Constantin Courage and Compassion Award.

Each year, the Cancer Center honors team members for exemplifying the deeply held values and beliefs of Sr. Linda Constantin, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center’s longtime nurse and member of senior administration, who passed away in 2005 after battling colon cancer. Throughout Sr. Linda’s life, she was a model of strength and courage, standing up for those in the community needing a voice and believing everyone should always be treated with the same compassion they themselves would expect.

The presentation of this award is a celebration and tradition for the Cancer Center as the Sr. Linda Award is the highest honor a team member can receive. The award is truly a testament to our continued advancement as a unified cancer center, as well as our team’s dedication to improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for every patient under our care.

Winners are nominated by coworkers and managers, and carefully chosen by a multidisciplinary selection committee made up of team members and physicians from Mary Bird Perkins and Our Lady of the Lake.

Cancer Center infusion nurse Jeanette Moore, RN, BSN, OCN, was nominated and chosen for her values and ministry of healing. She was honored amidst an audience of Mary Bird Perkins and Our Lady of the Lake team members, members of her family, and members of Sr. Linda’s family.

Tara Acosta, outpatient infusion nurse manager at the Cancer Center, works closely with Moore and shared excerpts from her nominations:

Whether Jeanette is educating a patient, starting an IV, accessing a mediport, providing emotional support, or counseling a patient through a devastating diagnosis, she goes to great lengths to ensure the patient’s needs are met.

One of my favorite sayings that she often uses when referring to a patient in need of emotional support is, “I just felt like I needed to love on them a little bit.” And what she means by that is that she gave them one of her most sincere bear hugs, pulled up a stool, and gave them her undivided and empathetic attention – often shedding tears with them – even in the middle of a very hectic day.

Jeanette lives the mission of Our Lady of the Lake by often praying with her patient and sharing her devout faith with them. She routinely buys the leather-bound version of one of her favorite books – “Jesus Calling” – to help patients through the difficulties of their cancer journey. I would estimate that she has purchased well over 100 of those books, and even gifts them to most of her fellow team members along with a hug and wish that the book brightens their days just as it has hers. When asked why she continues to spend so much of her own money on the books, she simply responds, “This is my ministry.”

Jeanette is often described as:

  • immensely compassionate and empathetic
  • intent on putting the patient at the center of all her actions
  • gives her whole heart in dealings with patients and family members
  • has a fierce determination when advocating for a patient

Over the years, we’ve had exceptional team members recognized for their compassion, care and dedication to patients. The previous Sr. Linda Constantin Award recipients include:

  • Kristina Little, patient navigator – 2015
  • Jamie Wilson, retired guest services team member – 2016
  • Suzanne Hotard, RN, BSN, OCN, survivorship navigator – 2017
  • Sherika Lewis, certified pharmacy technician – 2017

The Cancer Center is fortunate to have an incredible team of people that go above and beyond in their duties every day to ensure patients have the best experience possible when facing cancer.