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Published on May 20, 2015

Gibbs Oncology Nurse named Oncology Certified Nurse of the Year

Lynn Cole, RN, BSN, OCN, Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute Thoracic Clinical Navigator Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute Thoracic Clinical Navigator Lynn Cole, RN, BSN, OCN, was recently named the 2015 Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) of the Year by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

“Lynn has been instrumental in advancing lung cancer patient care at Gibbs,” said Patricia Hegedus, RN, OCN, MBA, and Director of Oncology Clinical Performance and Support Services at Gibbs. “Lynn is the voice for the patient and caregiver and advocates for a treatment plan that best meets their needs while optimizing outcomes. She breaks down barriers for her patients to improve their care and quality of life.”

Cole, of Boiling Springs, SC, was selected based on her contributions to oncology nursing and her support and promotion of oncology nursing certification.

Cole serves as a thoracic clinical navigator at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, part of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

The ONCC recognizes one oncology nurse nationally each year. Cole received $1,000 and a crystal award at the Recognition Breakfast for Oncology Certified Nurses at the Oncology Nurse Society (ONS) Annual Congress on April 24, held in Florida.

"I don’t think I do anything special; this is just what a good oncology nurse does,” Cole said.

In addition to her role as a thoracic navigator, Cole has increased the percentage of oncology certified nurses over a five year period by serving as a Clinical Unit Educator and a Certified Instructor for the ONS Chemotherapy/Biotherapy course in the inpatient oncology unit at Gibbs. 

While Cole serves all lung cancer patients at Gibbs, in 2012 she also established and coordinated a program to provide low dose CT lung cancer screenings to underserved patients and veterans. This was through a two-year grant with the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. At this time, insurances were not paying for these types of screenings. Through her efforts, more than 100 patients received screenings in the last two years; two of whom were diagnosed with early stage lung cancer.

Her focus on lung cancer goes beyond work; as she also initiated the Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event to provide patients and their caregivers an opportunity to celebrate life.

To win the OCN of the Year award, nominees must have recommendations from two colleagues in the nursing profession; prepare an essay describing how (s)he has promoted certification; summarize services offered that enhance oncology care and oncology nursing; and demonstrate accomplishments in at least one area of oncology nursing practice – clinical practice, education, or research.

Cole is one of more than 36,000 nurses certified as an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN®), Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON®), Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN®), Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP®), Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS®), Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN®), Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON®), or Blood and Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN™).

About the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote excellence in patient care and professional practice by validating specialized knowledge in oncology nursing and related specialties. ONCC administered the first Oncology Certified Nurse examination in 1986. Today, ONCC offers basic and advanced certification in adult oncology nursing, basic certification in pediatric oncology/hematology nursing, and specialty certification in breast care nursing and blood and marrow transplant nursing. Learn more about ONCC at

About Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute

Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute is a nationally recognized cancer treatment and research facility associated with the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Center program and the Medical University of South Carolina. Named for benefactors Marsha and Jimmy Gibbs and with locations in Spartanburg, Gaffney and Greer, Gibbs is a proven leader in providing effective cancer treatment through advanced technology, professional expertise and an exceptional level of personalized care. Gibbs’ oncology program, which also includes the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health, has been recognized by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as offering high-quality cancer care. In 2012, Gibbs joined forces with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to expand world-class oncology services and clinical research in the Upstate. In 2013, the Gibbs expanded its research efforts by opening a 7,500-square-foot state-of-the-art facility at Pelham Medical Center.

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