Knowledgeable, caring, inspiring, a great leader, and mentor. These are the words used to describe Eviti Senior Director of Clinical Operations Megan Salmon-Gardell, RN. Megan carries herself with a quiet humility – while leading a team and never losing sight of the value Eviti Connect brings to a person with a cancer diagnosis.
Megan is a nurse practitioner (RN, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP) who oversees the clinical staff and works across several departments such as Client Services, Technical Services, and the Clinical Content/Knowledge Base team to develop and communicate Eviti application support processes. Her knowledge and background are vital to operations.
“Megan understands every aspect of Eviti Connect from the development of the program, to the clients, and importantly to the benefit that Eviti provides to oncology patients assuring they receive the best treatment and outcome for their cancer diagnosis,” Eviti Quality Coordinator Judy Fayter said.
Under Megan, Eviti maintains accreditation through URAC (utilization review accreditation commission), which assures the quality of our HUM (health management utilization) program through evaluation against broadly recognized standards at the state and federal levels. NantHealth is privileged to have Megan in our organization. In this Employee Spotlight, we asked Megan to share some of her own experiences and wisdom with us.
Tell me a bit about yourself: What is your NantHealth background, your role, length of service, etc.? What did you do before joining NantHealth?
I have been a team member at NantHealth for a little over 11 years. I joined the team back in 2008 when we were ITA Partners and doing case management for oncology patients. I am currently the Sr. Director of Clinical Operations. I oversee the team of clinicians and support triage staff that performs reviews for all the non-automated treatment plans that are entered into the Eviti platform via the Eviti portal. Prior to NantHealth, I worked as an Oncology Nurse and Oncology Nurse Practitioner at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Saint Vincent’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in NYC.
What made you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
My Mom is a nurse, and I saw how rewarding a career it was for her. You are caring for people at their most vulnerable, all while applying your clinical knowledge and nursing skills.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job for me is working with my team. I really never wanted to pursue a management or director role as I saw my true passion as a clinician applying my knowledge and skills to treat cancer. But thanks to George Foley (NH-Sales), I found myself leading a team. I truly enjoy working with them and advocating for them every day. I have been blessed to work with many excellent clinicians as well as support staff who continue to make my job rewarding.
What have you learned about yourself from doing what you do?
I have learned that I am stronger than I think; that hard work always does pay off in the end (even if sometimes it takes a long time), and if you have good supportive people around you, success is within reach.
Who inspires you, personally and professionally?
My husband. He is a Stage IV cancer survivor and has a host of complications from his therapy. Yet every day, he gets up and gets after it. He never complains, and my sons and I are his biggest priority. His focus is to make sure we all have a good life.
What was one of the most impactful personal moments of your life?
When I first started working as a nurse, I worked inpatient at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). We did primary nursing, so you took care of the same patients across the span of their illness. I had a 28-year-old patient who was a snowboarder and a real free spirit. He was dying, though. One day near the end I was helping him get cleaned up, but it was a very sad moment; he was frustrated and angry to be dying. We both found ourselves crying. Then out of nowhere, he said, “The toilet paper roll is on backward.” For some reason, it made us laugh. The moment has stayed with me my whole lifetime. Everywhere I go, I always turn the toilet paper roll the “right” way and think of Bruce.
What was your proudest moment (career or otherwise)?
My proudest career moment was graduating from Columbia University with a Masters in Science and Certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. I did this for myself while working full-time nights as an Oncology Nurse. It was no easy task. In the last two years of my degree, I was either working, in school, or in clinic 6 ½ days a week.
What four words best describe you?
I would say kind, giving, tough, and determined.
If you could tell your 20-year-old self anything, what would it be and why?
I would say relax, live in the moment and enjoy it. You cannot control what will happen, only how you respond, so just live every day to the best of your ability, and the future will take care of itself.