Renata Benc becomes second JGH recipient in a row to win top award from Quebec Association of Oncology Nurses
To understand Renata Benc’s commitment to cancer care, it’s helpful to know about an exchange with a patient several years ago. Ms. Benc, a nurse in Radiation Therapy at the time, was assisting a man through the painful process of managing the side-effects of his cancer treatment and coping with the difficulties of his disease.
The man survived. Months later, he visited the Jewish General Hospital and said something to Ms. Benc that she never forgot.
“You showed me that I could get through my cancer at a time when I felt I couldn’t,” he told her. “You don’t realize the impact you had on me. You encouraged and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
His words are what have sustained and motivated Ms. Benc through her nursing career in Oncology at the JGH, earning her the 2021-2022 Award of Excellence from the Quebec Association of Oncology Nurses.
Through her 26 years of service, first as a Nurse Clinician and now as a Clinical Nurse Consultant, Ms. Benc has remained steadfast in her dedication to helping patients and families confront the difficulties that begin with a cancer diagnosis.
“We can’t always cure cancer, but as nurses we have the power to make the patient’s journey a little bit easier.”Renata Benc
“I always try to see it through the lens of the patient experience. We can’t always cure cancer, but as nurses we have the power to make the patient’s journey a little bit easier,” Ms. Benc explains.
Ms. Benc’s award recognizes her many accomplishments, within Oncology and beyond. She helped develop a Wellness Questionnaire for cancer patients at home, devised educational tools for patients and their families, and contributed to the content of the Belong smartphone app for cancer care at our CIUSSS. She also wrote new policies and procedures for the CIUSSS’s Digital Health team and sits on provincial and Canadian associations representing nurses in Oncology.
Colleagues at the Segal Cancer Centre say she is deeply appreciated.
“Renata is a diamond on our team,” says Gabrielle Chartier, a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Oncology. She advocates on behalf of nursing and for best practices in oncology care, Ms. Chartier adds. “This woman with a heart of gold is one of the pillars of our institution.”
Karine Lepage, Clinical and Administrative Coordinator in the Divisions of Oncology and Medicine, says Ms. Benc works tirelessly to adopt innovative practices and is valued for her leadership and communications skills. “Her innovative projects always aim to improve the quality of care,” says Ms. Lepage.
“Renata is a diamond on our team.”Gabrielle Chartier
This prize marks the second year in a row that an Oncology nurse with CIUSSS West-Central Montreal has won the provincial association’s Award of Excellence, which recognizes the exceptional contribution of a nurse in Oncology; last year, upon her retirement, Chantal Cloutier was bestowed with the same honour.
Ms. Benc says she didn’t expect to go into Oncology after graduating from McGill University with a Master of Science (Applied) degree in Nursing. But after joining the JGH upon graduation, and shifting to cancer care a year later, she never looked back. She says the JGH provided an environment where she could thrive and advance the nursing profession, and she expresses gratitude to the nursing leaders who “helped me optimize my career goals, and grow.”
“It’s been a privilege to be beside the patients and their families as they go through their cancer journey,” Ms. Benc says. “They learn from us, but we also learn so much from them.”