Jennifer Merrill ‘16 Completes Oncology Nursing Fellowship

November 03, 2015

Merrill Jennifer

Jennifer was one of four students from across the country selected for the fellowship program at MGH over the summer.

What are you studying?

I will graduate in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

What drew you to your nursing major?

I chose to pursue nursing as a profession after observing the kindness, compassion and teamwork exemplified by the nursing teams that cared for my father during his treatment for several cancers and serious illnesses over the years.

Tell us about your experience with the Ghiloni Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)?

The Ghiloni Fellowship at MGH was one of the best experiences in my nursing education thus far. The Fellowship is a 10-week one-on-one experience with oncology RNs and NPs. It was a clinical and scholarly immersion in oncology nursing and included all aspects of oncology nursing practice: medical and surgical oncology, chemotherapy infusion, radiation therapy, integrative therapies, clinical research and palliative and hospice care. I completed an evidence-based practice research project on Nutritional Management for the Patient with Head and Neck Cancer and presented it to nursing leadership and key clinical service staff including the associate chief nurse of MGH.

What made you want to pursue an internship in oncology nursing?

While doing orientation for a patient care associate job at MGH, I met two Ghiloni fellows who were completing orientation for the fellowship. Hearing them speak about the fellowship inspired me to learn more about the program. The fellowship seemed like a great opportunity to immerse myself in the world of oncology nursing.

What was the fellowship’s application process like?

To apply for the fellowship, I had to fill out a general job application. I waited several weeks to hear back from MGH. There were one hundred applicants for the fellowship. Of those one hundred, twenty individuals were selected for interviews, and four applicants were selected for the fellowship.

How will this internship impact your nursing career and your future care of patients?

This fellowship solidified my dream of becoming an oncology nurse. I learned so much about oncology nursing and the role of the nurse in patient care. Because of this unique opportunity, I was able to see the collaborative efforts of many members of the care team that go into caring for a single patient

What’s your dream job?

To be a nurse on a medical oncology unit. I would specifically love to work on a bone marrow transplant unit. During the fellowship, I learned that the patients on the bone marrow transplant unit at MGH have the highest acuity outside of the intensive care unit. As a nurse, I want to be challenged in my role and also have rewarding patient relationships, so a job on a medical oncology unit would be a perfect job for me!

What’s your Simmons Moment?

During my Medical/Surgical clinical rotation, I was standing in an elevator in MGH. A nurse got on the elevator and asked if I was a student nurse. I told her I was, and that I went to Simmons College. The nurse responded that Simmons students are always professional in the clinical setting and that we have a great reputation. Hearing that from a nurse made me feel incredibly proud to be a part of the Simmons community and such a wonderful, dedicated group of nurses and students.


The Carol A. Ghiloni Oncology Nursing Fellowship Program at MGH is co-sponsored by the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Development Program.

Photo courtesy of Massachusetts General Hospital