Kate Oppegaard

Kate Oppegaard, RN, BSN, OCN, CMSRN is the recipient of the 2019 Mathy Mezey Scholarship. Kate received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Arizona State University in 2005. Kate’s mother was also a nurse, and Kate has fond memories of how much she loved her patients. Kate has worked inpatient for more than thirteen years on a mixed medical, oncology, telemetry unit in a Bay Area community hospital, taking on progressive leadership roles. Kate sees each and every interaction at work as an opportunity to listen and learn, to exemplify professionalism, to collaborate, and to advocate for patients. Throughout her career, Kate has developed a love of older adults and always felt a kinship with those impacted by cancer.

Kate sought a graduate program with curriculum that would allow her to combine her solid foundation in nursing with the advanced knowledge necessary to better serve patients and colleagues as an advanced practice nurse. Kate is now studying to become an Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Oncology focus, with a minor in Human Genomics, at the University of California San Francisco. Kate’s thesis explores gender differences in coping in patients receiving chemotherapy, in particular those with gastrointestinal or lung malignancies. Future areas of research interest include healthy aging and understanding and addressing disparities in breast cancer outcomes between racial groups. Her clinical placements include cancer-related genetic counseling, a breast center, and beyond. She is excited about all the opportunities for learning that are available in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Kate hopes to work alongside others who share her enthusiasm for holistic, patient-centered healthcare. Kate looks forward to helping ensure that all Americans, regardless of setting, receive high quality, evidence-based care. She plans to serve as a leader in helping the nursing workforce learn more about how to integrate the rapidly growing field of human genomics into nursing practice. She also plans to do advocacy and policy work alongside her professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society, to help reform America’s healthcare to be more accessible and equitable.