The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Professor and Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair Marie Bakitas, DNSc, was recently recognized by the Oncology Nursing Society and the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association for continued outstanding work in the palliative care field.
Bakitas, who also is associate director and senior scientist at the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, described being honored with the HPNA award as “extremely gratifying.”
“Getting this award was special for me because nurses are not regularly recognized for leadership as a result of their research,” Bakitas said. “To have those two pieces put together and to send the message to nurses that research is a way to demonstrate leadership in the field was really special.”
Bakitas says the award is special because of the group presenting it.
“What is really exciting is that I will be getting this award for my palliative care research in oncology,” Bakitas said. “I’ve been working hard for 15 years to bring palliative care into oncology. For me to get this award brings attention to the importance of palliative care in the field, and that is truly special.”
The award also is special, she says, because of its UAB connection. Connie Yarbro, R.N., co-founded ONS while at UAB in 1975 and served as its president from 1979 to 1983.
Bakitas came to the School in 2012 after previous associations with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, both in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
“I came here because of the opportunities, the resources and the support for this kind of work, and that has just continued to blossom,” Bakitas said. “When you examine what goes on at the School of Nursing and the university as a whole, it is top science. It feels like this environment makes being successful easy because of the talent, the support, the collaboration and the resources that are available.
“I love what I do, and I love doing it here with the wonderful nursing and palliative care teams that I am a privileged to be a part of at UAB.”