Ellen Fitzgerald, RN, serves as the nurse director of the Lunder 10 inpatient unit and the Cox 1 outpatient ambulatory unit at the Mass General Cancer Center; both units specialize in caring for leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Every day in this role, her superb nursing leadership is evident. As a manager, her thoughtfulness and flexibility make her a mentor and confidant to her staff. As a nurse, she is a fierce advocate for her patients, always coming up with the best solutions for the challenges they face.
Thomas Spitzer, MD, director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Mass General, reflects on Ellen’s many talents: “I have never encountered such a unique combination of devotion to the highest possible quality of patient care, of attention to detail regarding patient safety, of diplomacy in dealing with so many competing interests and strong leadership when difficult decisions need to be made.”
In recent years, Ellen’s leadership was put to the test when multiple tragic events deeply affected the entire unit. Through the passing of a senior staff member, a diagnosis of metastatic cancer of another staff member, the death of a staff member’s son and a staff member who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, Ellen’s unwavering support and love helped her staff stay strong and resilient. One nurse writes, “Ellen is not just our nurse manager, she is a friend, a colleague, and most importantly, a mother — and not just to her two sons— but to the more than 100 nurses who comprise Lunder 10 and Cox 1.”