ACE is proud to announce that Shannon St. Onge has been named the 2023 DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Student honoree! The award highlights students who make a difference in healthcare through their compassion and dedication to patient care. St. Onge, like other honorees in years past, exemplifies the truest meaning of what it is to be a nurse, and we were overjoyed to be able to speak with her about her career.
ACE: Congratulations on receiving the 2023 DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Student! How does it feel to earn such an honor?
Shannon St. Onge (SS): I am humbled by this. When I received the award, I honestly thought, “Why me?” I never thought I would be in school for a master’s degree in nursing, let alone have the honor of receiving a DAISY Award.
ACE: The individual who nominated you raved about your daily care and service to patients, as well as your desire to continue growing your skills through education. Tell us more about your career and what led you to ACE.
SS: I am currently working in an outpatient radiation oncology office. I was perfectly content with my level of education until I began working in oncology alongside brilliant master’s-prepared nurses. I was led to ACE by a mentor who I have known since the beginning of my nursing journey in 2011. She has always given me encouragement to go further and continue learning, and I am so grateful for her support.
ACE: Your passion for oncology radiation is truly admirable. What led you to this particular field and what does it mean to you?
SS: My dear mom, who recently passed, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. I honor her courage and the work of her team with my own life and career. I was influenced by the experiences she had while fighting this disease, and I felt compelled to help others with the process through my work in oncology. I began working in progressive critical care in 2015 to gain knowledge and experience until I needed surgery for kidney cancer. This event made me pause to really focus on my ultimate goal. After my recovery, there was a miraculous opening for me in radiation oncology. Cancer care is complex and ever-changing, which is what makes it so exciting. I learn something new every day and feel privileged to be caring for the people I encounter in my line of work.
ACE: You’re on your way to earning an MSN. What are your aspirations upon graduation?
SS: I hope to earn a leadership position in the future, but I know I still have much to learn as I work toward this goal. In the meantime, I will use what I have learned in courses to help me gain a better understanding of my current work and become oncology certified.
ACE: Lastly, if you could give advice to an aspiring nurse, what would you say?
SS: I would say that, as challenging as nursing is, there are so many career opportunities. If you are committed to learning, you will be surprised by the wonderful ways you can affect others’ lives. I would also recommend that aspiring nurses never lose sight of their goals. If I can achieve degrees and reach my goals, all while working and raising a family, then others can too. Never stop learning!
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