May 6, 2019

Mother’s work inspired nursing career

Kaiser Permanente oncology nurse honored with 2019 Extraordinary Nurse Award.

Catherine Jansen’s mother spent her life serving others, even working with a group helping refugees from Laos, and with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. That served as an inspiration for Jansen to become a nurse — and care for others.

Catherine Jansen, PhD, RN, AOCNS, works at the San Francisco Medical Center for Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

“I spent time on the inpatient oncology unit while I was in nursing school and I was so impressed with the patients, their stories — their strength. I knew then that I wanted to be an oncology nurse,” said Jansen.

What do you love about nursing?

Nursing is about caring. I’m really blessed to have ended up in oncology and I love that every day I have the opportunity to make my patients’ experience better. I think it’s the best place to work. Everybody has their gift and it’s important to share, encourage, and mentor others.

Describe one of your most memorable moments as a nurse.

I had one patient with leukemia who loved to play piano. We had his family bring an electric keyboard into the hospital and his playing was a comfort to other patients. I got to know his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. When he relapsed, he came into the emergency room and unfortunately died quickly. It was a privilege to provide them support during this time. I was impressed with how they normalized his death with his granddaughter. She insisted on coming to the oncology unit to say goodbye and thank the staff who cared for her grandfather.

How does your work contribute to Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to transform health and health care?

I’m a strong supporter of lifelong learning and evidence-based practice for nursing care. While working with the Kaiser Permanente National Hazardous Drug Workgroup, I’ve developed training modules and patient education to promote safety for nurses and patients. I’ve shared this and other projects at national nursing conferences and through publishing in journals and books.

What has kept you at Kaiser Permanente for 26 years?

My relationships with patients and colleagues. I love the integrated system. I work closely with a great team of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, social workers, medical assistants, administrative staff, and other disciplines — everyone brings their expertise to the table to benefit the patient. It is really a great place to work!

How do you describe yourself?

I’m an open book. I pretty much try to live by the priorities my parents instilled in me: faith, family, and friends. I love to learn and I am grateful to be working in oncology.