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2013 Outstanding Employee: Virginia ‘Jenny’ Friend Provides Tireless Support for Patients and Colleagues

UVA Today is highlighting the winners of the 2013 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Awards, the highest U.Va. honor staff members receive for their dedicated service to the University. Today: Jenny Friend of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center. To see all of the stories, click here.

Dealing with a diagnosis of cancer can be emotional and stressful – not only for patients and their families, but for the team of clinicians caring for those patients. Virginia “Jenny” Friend, an registered nurse care coordinator at the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, is always willing to make an extra effort to ease the concerns of patients with brain tumors and of her colleagues at the cancer center.

Many of the patients Friend cares for as part of an interdisciplinary team come to Charlottesville from long distances, wrote nominator Lorna Facteau, and many of those patients have limited resources for support.

“Jenny works tirelessly – many days [for] 10 to 12 hours – to ensure the patients she serves have the highest standard of care and any available resources are obtained for these individuals,” wrote Facteau, chief nursing officer for U.Va. Medical Center.

Any spare moments Friend has when not attending to her patients’ needs are spent seeing how she can help her co-workers with their patients, ranging from filling out medical leave forms to following up on previously scheduled tests and procedures. “Jenny will take any time, whether it’s a few minutes or a couple of hours, to contact her nurse colleagues by pager, phone or just walk to their clinic and ask what she can do to help,” Facteau wrote.

“The compassion, the caring, the giving and the willingness to support her patients, her team and her co-workers are all qualities that make our nurse Jenny one of our favorite people.”

Friend can always be counted on for her professionalism and acts of kindness, according to Facteau, and she serves as the epitome of what makes a team work well together.

“We love to see Jenny at any point, as she makes the day so much better for so many,” Facteau wrote. “If we could clone her, we could solve the world’s problems.”

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