PHOTO: Jennifer Costa

Jennifer Costa

Jennifer Costa, PhD-c, MSN, APRN, PNP-BC, is the honored recipient of the Rita Reis Wieczorek Scholarship for Maternal – Infant and Pediatric Nursing. Jennifer is a PhD candidate at the UMass Chan Medical School Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boston College and her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a pediatric hematology, oncology and palliative care nurse practitioner for the last 15 years and most recently as a clinical inquiry specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In this role, she leads clinical teams in the development of quality improvement and evidence-based practice projects.

As a teenager, Jennifer watched her brother battle pediatric leukemia and knew first-hand the unique challenges childhood cancer poses to families. This experience gave her the insight and motivation to pursue a nursing career in pediatric oncology. Reflecting on this first exposure to childhood cancer, Jennifer recalls very little of the clinical details of her brother’s treatment but does remember the nurses and relationships they shared during and beyond his treatment. This, combined with her vast experience as a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner, has her knowing that these relationships are significant, but there is scant literature describing them.

Fueled by this, Jennifer is currently completing her PhD in Nursing with the long-term goal of developing a research platform that aims to address the psychosocial experience of parents and nurses caring for children with cancer. Her dissertation work will set the foundation to understand the nature, character, and mechanisms of the parent-nurse relationship in pediatric cancer care and inform how the complexities of relationship development is taught in nursing education. She aspires to attain an academic position within a school of nursing with a goal to educate future generations of nurses and advance nursing knowledge and practice.

Beyond her professional work, Jennifer has been active in the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), serving on various boards throughout the years and contributing as a column writer for the APHON Counts newsletter. She has authored a review article and book chapter addressing the role of cognitive remediation in childhood cancer survivors experiencing neurocognitive late effects, as well as published on the outcomes of titrating taxanes as a way to reduce hypersensitivity reactions. She was most recently featured on the podcast “Help and Hope Happen Here” where she discussed her past, present and future journey through nursing. She is also a member of Sigma, Iota Phi at-Large chapter.

Jennifer is ever grateful for the financial support of the Rita Reis Wieczorek Scholarship as it will ease the financial burden of graduate tuition as well as support her scholarly work.

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