If it weren’t for a successful career as a certified nurse practitioner in Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancers and Blood Disorders, Allison Fischer would be an instrumentalist. After her great uncle recently fell ill, he gifted her with his guitar to continue to fill the family with music. Though she has only taught herself a few chords, she’s living out her dream and hoping to learn more to carry on the tradition.
But as much as she loves music and playing the guitar, Allison is most passionate about diagnosing and treating children and teens with cancer and blood disorders. After watching her childhood friend fight osteosarcoma and witnessing the difficulties of treatment, she was inspired to become a pivotal part of that story in other patients’ lives moving forward. That’s why nothing strikes a cord with her more than forming trusting relationships with patient families going through some of the toughest days of their lives, while providing the highest quality care.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
As I was going through the hiring process at Akron Children’s, I felt welcomed, wanted and appreciated. If I felt that way, I knew patients had to be treated with that same compassion. Being in pediatrics, I look for a facility culture that makes the scary things more colorful and comfortable to help patients feel safe, and I think that Akron Children’s overwhelms you with that from the second you walk through the door.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am a nurse practitioner working inpatient in the hematology, oncology and transplant department. In this role, I hope to form trusting relationships with patients and families going through some of the hardest days of their lives, and I hope to instill a sense of safety and understanding in those treated by our team.
Lastly, I hope to be a contributing member of an interdisciplinary team that provides the highest quality care to our patients every day.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
Working in hematology, oncology and transplant has been a goal of mine since I was in high school after my best friend was treated for osteosarcoma. Bearing witness to her treatment and seeing the difficulties she went through inspired me to become a pivotal part of that story in other patients’ lives moving forward. I have spent the past several years achieving that dream.
Do you have a favorite instructor or mentor?
Throughout my health-care career, I have worked alongside some of the best and brightest. There is not one person in particular who has impacted me the most. However, I try to take the characteristic I appreciate most about each instructor and incorporate that into my practice. I model my bedside manner, creativity, advocacy and more after different providers and mentors that I have worked with in the past.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
My best friend growing up, Cora, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when we were in high school, and it became a very influential year of my life. Staying inpatient with her, going to her outpatient appointments and attending many social events for children with cancer gave me a holistic look at the struggles patients’ face on a daily basis.
After that experience, I knew I wanted to be a part of their journey with hopes to positively impact families. Nursing was the best way that I knew how to do so. After a few years at the bedside, I hoped to expand my knowledge of different diagnoses and the medical management of hematology and oncology patients, so I pursued a career in a provider role.
How does your personality fit your role?
I love connecting with children! Being able to meet them at their level of understanding to make their time in the hospital a little bit easier has always been something I strive for and will get to put into practice every day.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
Mainly the support of colleagues and loved ones (especially my pup, Willow) help get me through the hard times. I try my best to give all of my energy to my patients while at work, but then invest that same energy in myself when at home. Whether it involves cuddling up at home with a good book or going out to spend time with family and friends, I try to take time each week to de-stress and refocus.
What excites you most about medicine?
Innovation. Medicine is ever changing and there are always new or advanced treatment options available for patients. Staying on top of research and being able to share ideas amongst the medical community has always intrigued and inspired me.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My little family includes Brad, my husband, and Willow, my Black Lab-mix rescue pup.
How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who cared deeply, acted out of kindness, and did everything in her power to make those around her feel heard, loved and respected.
Who’s on your playlist?
I love quite a wide variety of music, but if you looked at my “most played” list, it would be Mumford and Sons by a landslide. I think I could sing every lyric to every song.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
My in-laws take an annual vacation to Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and it has become a second home to me. It is filled with lovely memories, the most memorable being when Brad and I got engaged. I look forward to carrying the tradition into future years and one day taking our kids to those same beaches where we have spent many quality years.
What skill would you like to master?
I have always longed to play a musical instrument. When my great uncle was sick a few years ago, he gifted me with his guitar to continue to fill our family with music. I have since taught myself very few chords, but would love to spend more time learning how to play!