BYLINE: Bridjes O’Neil

Newswise — ST. LOUIS — Verna Hendricks-Ferguson, Ph.D., the Irene Riddle Endowed Chair and tenure professor at the Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing, was honored with the 2024 Distinguished Researcher Award by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). 

The award was presented at the 49th Annual ONS Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes the contributions of a senior nurse scientist who conducts or promotes research that enhances the science and practice of oncology nursing. 

“We are very proud of Dr. Hendricks-Ferguson and her work’s impact on families,” said Kristine L’Ecuyer, Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Nursing. “It is wonderful to see her contributions recognized with this award.”

Hendricks-Ferguson was invited to deliver a keynote lecture, “My Journey in Developing a Program of Funded Research,” and is the only pediatric oncologist to receive the award.

Her letters of support reported that Hendricks-Ferguson’s research career includes evidence of serving in principal investigator roles on multiple funded research studies focused on advancing the pioneering science of early palliative-care communication practices by pediatric oncologists and nurses to the parents of children diagnosed with a poor prognosis type of cancer. She has received funding from the National Institute of Health, nursing organizations and foundations, and university and hospital-sponsored grants.

Hendricks-Ferguson has an impressive list of data-based published articles focused on pediatric oncology patients, and her publications have been frequently cited by other investigators. Her award letters of recommendation described the numerous organizations she has also participated in and her continued passion and commitment to contribute to the science of pediatric palliative care/end-of-life care for children with cancer and their parents.

Hendricks-Ferguson is committed to providing mentorship to assist other nurses in achieving cancer-focused research goals and to advance the delivery of quality cancer care by pediatric oncology nurses. She has served as an oncology expert on dissertation committees for PhD nursing students in the US and internationally, studying adult or pediatric oncology topics.

She was cited for her sustained contributions in generating and disseminating palliative and end-of-life research findings, which have contributed to her being honored with several nursing honors. Among those awards and honors is the 2022 Distinguished Researcher Award from the National Association of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Nurses.

ONS is a professional association representing 100,000 nurses and is the professional home to over 35,000 members. ONS is committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all to improve the quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families.