Elected nursing fellow
When Deborah Boyle was in second grade, she volunteered to skip recess to help hold a piece of cloth on a hurt classmate's head. At that moment, Boyle said, she knew she was destined to be a nurse.
After 29 years in the profession, currently as an oncology clinical nurse specialist at Inova Fairfax Hospital, the Annandale resident recently was elected to the American Academy of Nursing. Of the 2.5 million nurses nationwide, only 1,200 are AAN fellows.
Although Boyle, 49, holds a master's degree in nursing from Yale University, she was pleasantly surprised to be elected. Most AAN members have doctorates. Boyle achieved recognition from the group through her writing and speeches on expanding the field of cancer nursing to the elderly and the needs of cancer survivors.
When Boyle tells people she's an oncology nurse, she says, she gets three kinds of responses: she's an angel, unemotional or just plain crazy. But Boyle has been drawn to oncology from the beginning of her nursing career, relishing the mix of physical demands and interpersonal requirements. "I absolutely love it," she said. "Every day I come home and I can recount the things I did to help someone get through that difficult time."
Boyle just went through a very difficult period herself. After a long, painful struggle, she lost her husband to bladder cancer in April. "It was very interesting being on the opposite side of the bed," Boyle said wryly. "Sometimes too much knowledge isn't helpful."
She used her own experience to advocate for more help for patients' families. After "being the caregiver, I have a newfound appreciation of how much we ask families to assume in terms of responsibility at home," Boyle said.
The author of more than 100 articles on oncology nursing, Boyle spends about half her time in the hospital and the other half on the road speaking on the needs of cancer patients and families. She has journeyed through the United States and Europe, pounding the topics she feels deserve attention, such as taking care of dying patients in the hospital.
Her favorite part of the job, however, is dealing with people.
"I really enjoy the patient-family contact," said Boyle, who added that she works as "an advocate on their behalf," checking on their medications and making sure they feel taken care of.
When she's at the hospital, Boyle is often called in to talk to patients and families in high-risk situations. "Many people I've been asked to see in the hospital are in some sort of crisis," Boyle said. "They are either newly diagnosed or been told that their cancer has come back."
Boyle counsels the family on care options and often is in the position of gently telling them it's time to let go. One family still sends her cards thanking her for urging them to say their goodbyes while their loved one was still alive. "That to me is the greatest reward," Boyle said. "I made a difference in those people's lives and made it possible for them to grieve."
Recognized for volunteerism
Rena Baker, of Vienna, received an honorable mention for the Patricia Crail Brown Award for exemplary service as a literacy volunteer. Baker was nominated by the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, where she has been volunteering for 25 years. The award is the highest presented by Laubach Literacy, the world's oldest and largest literacy organization.
Dawn Lawson Morrison
Won service award
Dawn Lawson Morrison, of Springfield, recently won the Meritorious Service Award from Blacks in Government (BIG). BIG is a nonprofit that functions as an employee support group, community resource and advocacy group. Morrison also was elected national corresponding secretary of the group.
George W. Campbell
Won leadership award
George W. Campbell, of Arlington, won the annual Robert J. Arthur Distinguished Service Award from the Arlington County Bar Association. Campbell, a past president of the association, received the award in recognition of 25 years of distinguished leadership and service to the community.
Won leadership award
Jennifer Buckley, of Falls Church, received the Peter Indovino Memorial Award at Syracuse University, where she is a graduate student in the School of Management. The annual award honors a student who demonstrates exceptional leadership and character.
Selected to perform in Vienna
Bassoonist Lynn Gaubatz, of Falls Church, was selected to perform at the International Holocaust Conference held in Vienna, Austria, earlier this month. Gaubatz was the only musician invited to perform. She performed a solo work by exiled Viennese composer Egon Wellesz, a Jewish composer forced to flee Vienna in 1939.
Won history prize
Sam Willmott, of Falls Church, won first place in the performance category at the 20th annual National History Day Competition held at the University of Maryland in June. The Haycock Elementary School student's project was titled "Galileo's Search for Truth: Impact, Influence, Change."
Lauren Bryant and William D. Reagan
Selected to attend values workshop
Lauren Bryant, of Alexandria, and William D. Reagan, of Lorton, were among 32 high school students from six states selected to attend a Phi Delta Kappa Summer Workshop on Values in Bloomington, Ind., in July. The workshop was designed to help high school students learn more about values and character development. Both students attend Hayfield Secondary High School.
Jamie Watson and Elizabeth Ann Hatcher of Alexandria, Joeann E. Walker of Springfield, Joseph A. McQuail of Falls Church and Anna Merrey-Welcome of Arlington were selected to attend Washington and Lee University's Summer Scholar Program. The program, held July 4-20, is an academic program designed to provide students with an opportunity to sample college life. Jamie is a rising senior at Gonzaga College High School, Joeann is a rising senior at West Springfield High School, Anna is a rising senior at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Joseph is a rising senior at George Mason High School and Elizabeth is a rising senior at T.C. Williams High School. The students were among 157 selected from a pool of 240.
Fairfax County public schools awarded the Virginia Opera a Partnership Impact Award. The award honored the opera's statewide Adopt-A-School program, which combines intensive classroom instruction with the experience of live performance. The opera maintains offices in Richmond, Norfolk and Fairfax.
The Arlington County Police Department received two awards at last month's Virginia Police Chief's Foundation Annual Training Conference in Roanoke. The awards were based on the department's traffic safety education and enforcement for 1998.
Pendleton Homes & Remodeling of McLean has won this year's regional Chrysalis Award for building excellence. The award was given for the Best Whole House Renovation category in the price range of $100,000 to $250,000.
CAPTION: Deborah Boyle, of Annandale, is an oncology nurse at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She has been selected as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.