2023 Summer GAPNA Newsletter Volume 42 Number 2

Cassandra Vonnes (Sandi) DNP, GNP-BC, APRN, GS-C, AOCNP, CPHQ, FAHA

  • Triple USF Bull Nurse BSN 1993, MS GNP 1995, DNP 2018
  • Geriatric Oncology Nurse Practitioner, H. Lee Moffitt Research Institute and Cancer Center
  • Nurses Improving Care of Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) Coordinator

Describe a day in your life.

530 am arriving at work. Coffee, emails correspondence. Twice a week mindfulness via Zoom. On any given day, my role includes teaching: nurse residents about geriatric oncology and delirium simulation, weekly orientation and a review of inpatient and outpatient fall and injury prevention policy, patient education on falls, symptom management, and antineoplastic treatments.

What inspired you to work in geriatrics?

I worked in Intensive Care for nine years, and when I returned for my Master of Science in Nursing, I chose the GNP track. My nursing experiences in critical care helped form this decision. Seeing the complexities of illness in our older population, I knew exactly where I could make a difference.

How do you see the field of geriatrics evolving in the future?

Focused on the home settings, moving away from an acute care model while maintaining functional independence. Enhanced patient engagement in their care with a focus on goals of care discussions in a shared decision context.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Mentoring nurses in analyzing problems and developing innovative strategies to improve outcomes for older adults with cancer.

What are your hobbies/favorite activities?

Gardening, reading, shelling.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years in your career?

Still working, teaching, volunteering, and writing.

How long have you been a GAPNA member?

On and off for 11 years.

How and why did you get involved with GAPNA as a leader?

I wanted to join a committee, and the communications committee had been recruiting. Having never been involved in any social media, I felt that this was a stretch goal for me to learn Twitter.

Any workplace honors you’d like to mention?

  • Oncology Nurses Society
  • Oncology Nurses Excellence in Care for the Older Adult with Cancer Award 2019
  • International Society of Geriatric Oncology Nursing Allied Health Investigator Finalist 2019
  • Patient & Family Advisory Council Award of Excellence Moffitt Cancer Center 2020
  • Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) 2022

Anything else you’d like us to know?

I have rescued nine dogs, seven of which were min-pins. I have been on seven medical trips to Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Peru. I have two sons (no grandchildren) and have been married for 41 years.