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5 Questions with Hannah Cantrell

5 Questions with Hannah Cantrell

Hannah Cantrell is a Clinical Nurse at SCCA Proton Therapy Center. Hannah stems from a tiny town in Indiana but had dreams of moving west from the time she was about 21. She packed up her car and drove towards the coast.

Patient-centered care and compassion is the hallmark of her work at the center, with her time spent in a variety of ways. On a typical day, Hannah will answer patients' questions and concerns, help manage side effects and symptoms as they occur, coordinate care, and make sure that patients are receiving all the necessary support for their healing process.

What made you choose your career?

From the time I was a tiny tot I knew that I wanted to help others. To me, there's not a greater or more humbling gift in the world than getting to be of service. As I grew older and began studying in school I knew the world of science fascinated me. Into high school I quickly began to fall in love with medicine. I knew that I wanted to study medicine but that I also wanted to interact with patients and be a part of their healing process. I decided that becoming a Registered Nurse was the perfect path for me because I was able to combine my love for helping others, desire for human interaction, and the study of medicine. There was no turning back from there. I now even have aspirations to earn a degree at the doctoral level study of nursing- I love it! (Wish me luck on my grad school app).

What brought you to our center?

My time spent in nursing school can definitely be defined as stressful, overwhelming, and information overload! I'll never forget the feeling I had when I realized that I had a good understanding of cancer and the way it works as a disease and its behavior at a cellular level. Oncology is one area of nursing that makes a lot of sense to me, though that may sound crazy to some people. When I learned about Proton Therapy as a treatment for cancer I was instantly intrigued. "How amazing would it be to work with such an innovative technology and treatment approach?" I thought to myself. The idea of this combined with the opportunity to help others in their cancer journey excited me. I applied right away and knew that this is where I wanted to be.

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

In my last semester at Purdue my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. It was at this time that I moved in with him and became his primary caretaker. I was also attending nursing school full time, in my final clinical rotation, and working as a student nurse extern in an NICU. I realize now that I was experiencing the emotional stress that many of our patients and family members at our center face each day. What helped me through that critical time was the amazing support offered by the clinical team involved with my father. They were able to empathize and provide comfort and support in such a difficult time. I knew that I wanted to be able to do that for other people someday. Being able to do that in my role as a clinical nurse at this center has been incredible. It's so rewarding to witness patients finding comfort in the care we provide. 

Anything off-the-wall we might not know about you?

At my last job I worked in wilderness therapy and didn't shower for 8 days at a time. EIGHT DAYS AT A TIME! That is not a typo people.

Tell us a good joke.

Why was the mushroom invited to the party?

Because he was a fun-guy!

(Wait I have another)!

What does the buffalo say to his son when he goes off for college?

Bi-son!