For Linda Ankrom, it started in childhood — a deep-rooted desire to keep an eye out for others.
“There was a little old lady cross the street living by herself,” Akrom said. “And I remember sitting on the porch and worrying about her. So, I’d run over and check on her, make sure she had the help she needed.”
Today, Ankrom said this memory makes her laugh: She was always a nurse at heart.
“I think being a nurse is ingrained in you,” she said. “It’s in your make-up.”
Ankrom is a registered nurse and the director of Magee-Womens CancerCenter, Infusion Center and Ovarian Risk Assessment and Prevention Program at UPMC. She was recently honored as a finalist for the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future.
The global health company spent a day following Ankrom at Magee-Womens Hospital, capturing her work in a new video on the brand’s website.
Ankrom, a Pittsburgh-area native with nearly two decades of nursing experience, said she felt the award was a way to put nursing in the spotlight — and encourage a new generation looking to enter the field.
“Nurses don’t talk about themselves enough,” Ankrom said.
“We don’t really like to brag about ourselves. But we have a level of knowledge that the general public doesn’t get exposed to. We provide great health care to people in need, and we pare down complicated information so people can understand it,” she said.
Infusion nurses specialize in the administration of medication and fluids via infusion — monitoring patients, managing their tubing, and remaining vigilant for possible drug complications. The demand for this nursing specialty is expected to rise: Job website Healthcare Traveler estimates it will increase by 26 percent by 2020.
Ankrom said the road to becoming a nurse is difficult, but she hopes prospective nurses understand the rewards of the profession.
“It’s hard. But you should go for it and stick to it,” she said. “There are so many wonderful things about nursing. Now, we see nurses who have these really broad, diverse career opportunities.”