Heather Hibbard, BSN, RN, manager of the medical oncology and infusion center at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, is being honored for making a difference in the lives of cancer patients. Hibbard is one of seven health care providers who will be in the spotlight at the Third Annual Commitment to Compassion Luncheon, sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Insider Louisville and the Compassionate Louisville Healthcare Constellation. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Muhammad Ali Center.
Hibbard uses her training as well as her personal experience to make life a little easier for cancer patients. Her father and grandfather were diagnosed with lung cancer within one month of each other, and passed away one month apart in 2013. Although it was a painful time for her, that experience helps her understand how to improve care provided to the patients at the Brown Cancer Center.
Hibbard says she wants to provide the kind of care for patients and families that she would want to receive. To help make things easier, she developed a lab and line room where patients can have their vitals and lab work done before seeing the physician. This reduced patient wait times by two thirds.
“Cancer does not have to be a death sentence, but the patients need top-notch, nurturing and individualized care,” Hibbard said. “My one goal in life is to make a difference in cancer care – to give others hope that we are doing everything we can as an oncology center. I have a great group of people who want better care for their patients and I help them in reaching that goal.”
It is often little things that make a difference for patients.
“You don’t ever hear, ‘thank you for accessing my port,’” Hibbard said. “But you do hear ‘thank you for being gentle with me,’ ‘thank you for listening,’ ‘thank you for calling home health and getting things set up so my life is a little easier.’”
The Commitment to Compassion luncheon, emceed by television health and science reporter Jean West, will include recognition of the compassionate care honorees, a performance by the West Louisville Boys Choir and a panel discussion on “Innovative and compassionate care in West Louisville.” Reservations are available online.