January 2008, Volume 35, Number 1

 

In Memoriam

Victoria Mock

 

Victoria Mock, DNSc, RN, FAAN, died on November 15, 2007, surrounded by her family. Vicki, as she was affectionately known, lost the battle with the disease she spent her professional life focused on. As news spread of her death, condolences from colleagues and friends poured in to her family and to her school. The outpouring of love and respect gives us all pause to realize the terrible professional loss to oncology nursing that comes with her passing and the profound personal loss experienced by those who had the privilege of knowing and working with her.

 

Her many professional accomplishments constitute an amazing list of milestones. Vicki earned a bachelor of science in nursing from Duke University in Durham, NC, a masterís of science in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco, and a doctorate of nursing science from Catholic University in Washington, DC. Internationally known for her research in symptom management for patients receiving cancer treatment, Vicki was chair of the new Department of Health Systems and Outcomes at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON), led the schoolís Center for Collaborative Intervention Research, and directed nursing research at the Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, MD. She held a joint appointment in oncology at the JHU School of Medicine and conducted multi-institutional intervention-testing studies in diverse cancer populations. She was principal investigator or co-investigator on numerous National Institutes of HealthĖfunded cancer-centered research projects. She recently chaired the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Cancer-Related Fatigue Guidelines Panel, was an American Cancer Society Professorship of Oncology Nursing, and, in 2003, received the prestigious Distinguished Researcher Award from the Oncology Nursing Society.

 

As equally impressive as her list of accomplishments are the personal testaments from those who came into contact with this remarkable woman. Three qualities are noted by virtually everyone: her gentleness, graciousness, and generosity of spirit. Their words say it all.

 

Debbie McGuire, PhD, RN: I had to work REALLY, REALLY hard to convince Vicki to interview for the position of director of oncology nursing research at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in 1994. She was concerned about not being able to do her own research, but she was finally convinced and took the job. All these years later, it is abundantly clear that she made her best contributions to our evidence base while in this position.

 

Anne Belcher, PhD, RN: It is so hard to believe that Vicki will never again share her sweet smile, her gentle tone, her sincere interest in each of us. She was a wonderful mentor and role model as an oncology nurse, an educator, and a researcher. There are countless numbers of patients, families, students, and faculty colleagues who were enriched by their association with her or the results of her research.

 

Margaret Barton-Burke, PhD, RN: I met Vicki in the mid-1980s and worked with her to try to get her dissertation through all the hoops of approval that one jumps through when conducting clinical research. When she completed her doctorate, Vicki volunteered to be the chair of the Research Committee for the Boston Oncology Nursing Society (BONS) Chapter. BONS had never had a research committee, and Vicki was interested in sharing all she knew about nursing research. Along with a few other members, we embarked on a cancer rehabilitation program for women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing cancer chemotherapy using a walking program and an educational support group. I remember sitting at a team meeting when Vicki was going to present the study to a group of academic physicians. They were grilling her about the end points of the study: Was the study end point remission, death, cure, or something else? Vicki quietly, politely, but firmly told this group of doctors that nursing studies had different study end points. She proceeded to articulate what those study end points were, and the study was approved. Vicki gave willingly of her time, talent, and energy, and herself. She was always thinking of others. I donít think ďnoĒ was part of her vocabulary. This nurse was one who was placed on this earth for a very short time, but in that time, she made an indelible mark on the field of oncology nursing, evidence-based practice, multidisciplinary team research, and essentially everyone with whom she came in contact.

 

Anne Berger, PhD, RN: My fondest memories of Vicki are of watching her demonstrate her wonderful skillful way of mentoring others. Her soft and clear communication skills assisted so many new investigators. Her mentorship guided many nurse scientists to develop and test interventions to modify cancer-related fatigue. The world is better because she was in it and with us.

 

Carrie Stricker, PhD, RN: I immediately reflect upon the peaceful and poised comportment Vicki presented to the world and her selfless dedication to nursing education, research, and practice. I had the privilege of working with Vicki on her exercise intervention research when I was a young and enthusiastic masterís student, and she inspired in me a commitment to evidence-based practice and clinically relevant nursing research that has been pivotal in shaping my own nursing career, among those of many others. Her impact on scholarship crosses disciplines and her research holds far-reaching implications beyond any one subject; the influence of both will be felt for decades to come. The world has lost not only a phenomenal scholar but, more importantly, an exemplary human being.

 

Barbara Piper, DNSc, RN: Vicki was an incredibly gracious, soft-spoken, gentle soul, always caring of others. She had an incredible talent at being an exceptionally good listener, making each of us feel that our opinions were always valued, mattered, and were considered in her decision making. She truly made each of us feel important to her and feel included, never excluded. When someone who is this special and who has had such a positive effect on so many, in so many different ways, passes our way, we realize what an exceptional person we were fortunate enough to know. Whenever these rare individuals touch our lives, it is never for long enough. Perhaps we all should feel lucky that we had her as long as we did, that we were able to know this exceptional nurse scientist, friend, and colleague for as long as we did. It is just that there are so few people like her and of her caliber and graciousness, that her passing and the void that she leaves behind hurts all of us even more.

 

Stacy Young McCaughan, PhD, RN: Vicki had the ability to critically review your work while providing meaningful suggestions to add rigor to study design, control for confounders, understand data analysis in a new way, and, most importantly, make recommendations for clinical care. She simultaneously brought rigor and grace to the research.

 

A Web site for friends and colleagues to post remembrances of Dr. Mock can be found at www.son.jhmi.edu/blogs/blogs/vickimock. In addition, JHUSON has established the Victoria Mock Research Fund to support pilot studies and enhance the work of the Center on Collaborative Intervention Research. Contributions can be sent to Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, The Victoria Mock Research Fund, 525 N. Wolfe St., Rm. 529, Baltimore, MD 21205.

 

The Oncology Nursing Society Distinguished Nurse Researcher fund within the ONS Foundation supports the newly renamed Victoria Mock New Investigator Award. Contributions in Vickiís name to that fund can be sent to ONS Foundation, Victoria Mock New Investigator Award, 125 Enterprise Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15275.

 

 

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1188/08.ONF.15-16