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Peg Fields to receive MD Anderson's highest nurse-oncologist honor

HOUSTON - Margaret M. Fields, an advanced practice nurse in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Gynecologic Oncology, is the recipient of the 2010 Ethel Fleming Arceneaux Outstanding Nurse-Oncologist Award, made possible by The Brown Foundation, Inc.

A committee of MD Anderson's clinical faculty, patient care administration and nursing staff reviewed nominations from peers and patients before selecting Fields for the annual award, the institution's highest nursing honor. The Brown Foundation, Inc. established the award in 1982.

Fields will receive a cash award of $15,000, a crystal plaque and a commemorative pin at a 2 p.m. ceremony June 21 in the Cancer Prevention Building, eighth floor conference center, rooms 3, 4, 5 and 6. John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of MD Anderson, will lead the ceremony.

"I'm stunned, amazed and honored," said Fields. "Ethel Fleming Arceneaux was truly an inspirational nurse and a remarkable role model during her career at MD Anderson. It's an incredible honor to be thought of as part of her legacy."

Fields, known as Peg among colleagues and patients, plays an integral role at MD Anderson's gynecologic oncology outreach site at Harris County Hospital District's Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) General Hospital. Fields works closely with Lois Ramondetta, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at LBJ, as part of a gynecologic oncology team to provide underserved patient populations access to clinical trials of potential new therapies, state-of-the-art patient care and psychosocial support.

"The opportunity to make a powerful difference there is tremendous," Fields said.

Fields was introduced to oncology nursing during her childhood in Iowa in the early 1970s, when her younger sister was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"I learned at that point in my life that cancer strikes an individual, but it afflicts the entire family," she said. "I felt that the nurses must be some sort of special beings to be so filled with knowledge and compassion. I knew I wanted my career to have that type of impact and purpose."

After graduating from Mount Mercy College in 1984, Fields began her oncology nursing career in inpatient hematology-oncology at the University of Iowa Health Care. She honed her skills in other locales as her husband's career required numerous moves. During those years, MD Anderson's reputation and prestige set industry standards as "the pinnacle of oncology care." In 1992, she came to MD Anderson for a one-week course in cancer prevention and early detection. The experience gave her a "renewed sense of pride" in her profession.

"I left with a sense of wonder at MD Anderson: the diversity, the level of intellectual curiosity and the level of care practiced there," she said. "I felt that if I could work there someday, I would be so blessed."

In 2005, the Fields family moved from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Houston. Peg Fields joined the MD Anderson staff in February of 2006.

"It was such a proud day to be starting a new phase of my career at the most prestigious cancer center in the world," she said. "I felt that my oncology nursing journey had come full circle."

Today Fields serves on MD Anderson's Advance Practice Nurse Leadership Committee and is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, the Society of Gynecologic Nurse Oncologists and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Nomination letters recommending Fields for the Arceneaux Award describe her as knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care. In one patient's words, Fields is "the light at the end of the tunnel when all hope feels gone."

Fields' goal is "to make the journey with my patients."

"I strive to make sure the patients I care for know that I truly care about them as people," she said. "I work to know them as individuals, to know their families, to know what brings them pleasure and the challenges they face in their lives. I try to provide hope for better days, comfort for pain - physical and emotional - and to bring the best that medicine has to offer."


Contact: Sarah Watson
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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