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Making a Difference Every Day

When you are working with people who are literally fighting for their life, motivation is plentiful. That type of setting allows you to leave work each day feeling like you made a difference. It is a workplace that is exciting to Teresa Collins, RN.

Teresa has been named the new Director of Oncology at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

It is a position she feels prepared for. Teresa has been the clinical coordinator for the Oncology Department since 2013.

Although she is leaving her day-to-day interactions with patients as a nurse and clinical coordinator, Teresa has not forgotten the importance of her team’s work.

“We have a huddle (staff meeting) every morning,” she said. “And I like to do leadership rounding as often as possible, I want any new patients who come in to either the medical oncology side or the radiation therapy side to know that we are working with them. I want them to know who all can help them with their journey.”

Teresa is replacing Mary Hardin, RN, who became the Vice President of Patient Care Services at CMH in November. Teresa had been serving as interim director of the Oncology Department since Mary’s promotion.

“I had the opportunity to work with Mary, first as a treatment nurse beginning in 2011 and then as Clinical Coordinator beginning in 2013,” Teresa said. “Having her just a phone call away is comforting.”

Teresa enjoys the more cerebral aspects of her new job as director.

“I like the problem solving and critical thinking that needs to happen as a director,” she said. “I want to always be improving things for our patients and for our staff. It’s a way I can continue to have an impact on the care we deliver. We have a great group of caring individuals in the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center and the Solari Radiation Therapy Center. We have outstanding providers who care deeply for our patients and their families.”

Teresa stressed the level of care in the CMH Oncology Department is comparable to any hospital in the region, regardless of size.  But she also thinks the size at VCU Health CMH has distinct advantages.

“We have the ability to change quickly here,” she said. “And that is important because in cancer care, things change sometimes daily. There are always new treatment options and therapies. Our staff embraces that change while still caring deeply for our patients. It makes CMH a very special place.”

Teresa graduated LPN school (Southside Virginia Community College-SVCC) in 2002 and immediately started working at CMH in Med/Surg and telemetry. After becoming an RN in 2006, she worked as a charge nurse on West Wing at the old CMH, as well as a recovery room nurse, and nurse recruiter before moving to the oncology department.

Teresa has her BSN from Chamberlain College of Nursing and is also now working on her MSN at Chamberlain College. She is a certified Oncology nurse and has received the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award twice during her tenure at CMH, in 2013 and in 2018.

Teresa, a Lunenburg County native, and her husband, Robert, have three children:  Nicholas, 21, who will be a VCU grad in May; Aylor, 11, a fifth grader at South Hill Elementary; and Cooper, 5, a kindergartener as South Hill.

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