Amazing Lillie

Lillian Shockney

Image caption: Lillian Shockney

Credit: Keith Weller

At last count, there were over 37,200 questions on the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center's "Ask an Expert" Web page. If you browse through, you'll find many inquiries addressed "Dear Lillie": "Dear Lillie, I will finish 5 years of Femara this coming September . . ." "Hi Lillie, I was diagnosed with multifocal dcis 4 years ago . . ." "Dear Lillie, many thanks for wonderful service and quick response to all my questions. "

Lillie is Lillian Shockney, Bus '88 (MAS), a registered nurse and administrative director of the Breast Center for the past 15 years. A two-time breast cancer survivor herself, she strives to ensure that patients—at Johns Hopkins and around the world—receive the best possible care. That might mean helping a patient understand her diagnosis and treatment options, testifying before Congress about patient rights, or answering emails from anxious patients well into the night.

In December, Shockney was selected among 2,600 nominees as the winner of Johnson & Johnson's 2011 Amazing Nurses Contest. "She is a phenomenon, an unstoppable force, a living example of how good can come from suffering and how much good can be accomplished," Marie Nolan, professor and chair of the Department of Acute and Chronic Care at the School of Nursing, wrote in her nomination letter.

Shockney, who has worked at Johns Hopkins since 1983, is an associate professor with joint appointments at the School of Medicine and School of Nursing and a university distinguished service associate professor of breast cancer. In response to winning the Amazing Nurses award, Shockney said she hopes one outcome is that more people will consider pursuing nursing as a career. In a Q&A with Johnson & Johnson, she said: "Nursing has fulfilled me in a way that is hard to describe. I go home every evening knowing I have made a difference in the lives of patients, whether they are newly diagnosed, in the midst of treatment, or if I've helped them prepare for end of life. Not many people can say that about their jobs these days."