Featured Alum: Jami Gattuso, Natural Science 1983

I graduated from CBU in 1983 with a B.S. in Natural Science and then went to Nursing School at the University of Tennessee, Memphis where I got both a B.S.N. and an M.S.N. I am on the Board of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses and am a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. I have worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since January, 1986, in a variety of roles: staff nurse, discharge planning coordinator, clinical nurse specialist and nursing research specialist (my current role). In the Division of Nursing Research we conduct collaborative nurse-driven research studies on topics such a sleep and fatigue, quality of life, and end-of-life issues. I am the coordinator for the studies of quality of life in children with osteosarcoma and melanoma and for the recently completed study of the effects of dexamethasone on the sleep and fatigue of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I also coordinate an in-house fellowship program for staff in our Patient Care Services Department to help them learn more about the research process and about evidence-based practice. Through this program staff members implement unit-specific projects such as improving understanding and treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, the usefulness of bronchoalveolar lavage, and an improved tool for assessing symptoms. In all of these research and evidence-based practice projects, the goal is to improve the care for children with catastrophic illnesses and their families.

I have always said that there is one thing that can’t be taken away from me and that is my education from CBU. The small class sizes, the individualized attention, and the incredibly talented faculty gave me a top-rate education that made nursing school a breeze. The many leadership opportunities I had at CBU made stepping into positions of leadership in my career easy as well. I consider the campus of CBU a holy place–one that helped solidify the foundation for my ongoing spiritual journey. CBU is probably the most important “place” in my life and I am ever grateful for all that “place” has given and continues to give me.