Ask retired Fred Hutch nurse Judy Kornell the secret to great nursing care and she’ll tell you right away: “It’s about touch.” During her years as a pain nurse, she also touched the hearts of countless cancer patients, blending hands-on caregiving with path-breaking research on better ways to measure and control pain.
“If their pain is managed and they are not stressed, they will get well sooner,” she says.
Based on her research and nursing experience, she became an early advocate for giving patients control of their pain medication and for the use of pain-level measurements now routinely assessed ― along with temperature, pulse and respiration ― at clinics everywhere.
Compassion runs deep in her family: Judy’s daughter Teri worked 10 years at Fred Hutch, sometimes side-by-side with her mom; and Teri’s daughter Brittany worked there three years caring for bone marrow transplant patients.
Before joining the Hutch, Judy was also known among Seattle nurses. A founding member of the Puget Sound Oncology Nursing Society, she became its third president in 1978.
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“We formed a local chapter and met at Fred Hutchinson 90 percent of the time,” she says. “We have the strongest chapter in the nation today.” Judy also helped start Hospice of Seattle, which now has a caseload of 400. After joining the Hutch staff in 1985, she worked with the late Dr. Harlan Hill, who specialized in the study of neuropharmacology, on many pain management trials involving bone marrow transplant patients.
With so many ties to Fred Hutch, Judy found another way to lend a helping hand after she retired. “I met with the Planned Giving staff and decided to give a charitable gift annuity. It provides me with some income every year ― and it benefits the Hutch,” she says. “I’ve added to it since then, and it’s been a very rewarding experience.”
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