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M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Laurie McInnes Hughes Wins Arceneaux Award


As a child, Laurie McInnes Hughes, MSN, RN, FNP, lost her younger brother to leukemia. Little did she know the impact that experience would have on her life, both personally and professionally.

Hughes, an advanced practice nurse in the Department of Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, will receive the 2007 Ethel Fleming Arceneaux Outstanding Nurse-Oncologist Award, made possible by The Brown Foundation, Inc., at a ceremony June 19.

“I am honored to have been selected for this award and to be a part of the M. D. Anderson team,” says Hughes. “My colleagues are outstanding and share a compassion for our patients. That’s why I’m here. I love what I do.”

Hughes’ commitment is “from the heart.”

“Throughout my brother’s illness we could always count on the unparalleled compassion and selfless dedication the nursing staff shared with our family,” she says. “Little did I know what a powerful and invaluable impact that would have on me. Today I am in a position to utilize the strength I gained while watching him fight for his life years ago to now help ease our patients’ suffering and promote the healing process.”

Hughes is clinical nurse practitioner to breast cancer surgeon and professor S. Eva Singletary, M.D.

“Laurie is known for going above and beyond the call of duty to provide the finest in patient care,” says Singletary.

Hughes is the initial contact between surgical oncology and patients who are newly diagnosed, guiding them through the diagnostic workup, risk/benefit analysis and pre- and post-operative evaluation.

“I’m their first call from M. D Anderson,” says Hughes. “Part of my role is to walk them through and explain that a breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. I encourage them to ask questions, to be in charge. I empower them so that they are informed about their diagnoses and surgical options even before they see Dr. Singletary.”

Hughes received a Bachelor of Science degree in education and exercise science in 1986 at the University of Houston. As a Lower School teacher at The Kinkaid School, she worked closely with the school nurse and became interested in pursuing her own career in the field. Later Hughes put her kinesiology skills to work as an aerobics instructor at The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa; at the Golden Door Spa in Escondido, Calif., and in Tecate, Mexico; and on the Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2. Living at sea for almost three years and getting to know the medical team onboard, she was reminded of her interest in nursing. In 1991, she “jumped ship” to enter Texas Woman’s University for a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing, with Advanced Practice Nurse certification.

Hughes worked at M. D. Anderson during undergraduate clinical rotations, and “absolutely fell in love.” She has been on staff for a total of almost nine years.

“I felt a very special connection,” says Hughes. Hughes, who was nominated for the Arceneaux Award last year, is active in community and professional organizations including the Pink Ribbons Project, Susan G. Komen For the Cure, American Cancer Society and Oncology Nursing Society. She and husband Steven eagerly await the birth of son William Henry in August 2007.

Since 1982, The Brown Foundation, Inc., has recognized nurses at M. D. Anderson who excel in the field of oncology. A committee representing M. D. Anderson’s clinical faculty, patient care administration and nursing staff selects Arceneaux Award recipients. Award winners receive a net cash award of $15,000, a crystal plaque and a commemorative pin.


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