Our Oncology Nurses

Oncology Nurses

The level of compassion our oncology nurses bring to your care is matched only by their high level of experience and skill. Because they understand that everyone is unique, they offer personalized care. Their goal is to help make your experience as positive as possible.

Tina Harrison RN, BSN, OCN – Head Nurse
A three-year breast cancer survivor, Tina kept on working during her fight, “During my time battling breast cancer I would have my IV treatment running and sit at my desk calling patients, continuing with my daily job. I feel I was able to offer patients a unique understanding as they battled their own cancer.” Tina brings a strong background to her work at Oncology Associates with two years in Brain Trauma Rehab and nine years in bone marrow transplant and oncology. She’s been with Oncology Associates for five years. Tina’s backed by a strong family. The Glenwood, Iowa native is the mother of three, and she’s got one grandchild. She sites her mother, an LPN, as one of her major influences. The thing that she most wants everyone to know about her role at Oncology Associates is this, “I am devoted to the daily care of patient with cancer providing care and compassion at all times. My patients come first and I will always do what I can to help them.” It’s a sentiment echoed time and again by all of our doctors, nurses and staff.
Leanne Johnson RN, OCN – Assistant Head Nurse
An Omaha native with nursing in her genes, Leanne said that she’s always wanted to be a nurse. Following in her mother’s and older sister’s footsteps, Leanne has worked in the medical field since 1985, with over 10 years at Oncology Associates. Leanne is open and sincere, and believes that one of the best things about Oncology Associates is that “we are a small facility, so we can really get to know each of our patients”. She thinks of herself as a fairly typical sort at home — married with two grown children, a Nebraska fan with a yellow lab that she enjoys playing with. At OA, we see Leanne as a compassionate, highly experienced professional who you can depend on to help make your experience as positive as possible.
Jeanne Dale RN, OCN – Holdridge Clinic Coordinator Jeanne has been an oncology nurse for over 30 years, and has served in a variety of capacities at Oncology Associates, including Head Nurse for over 20 years. She says the patients continually teach her more than she has to give and bless her life with their courage, faith and support of each other. In her first career, Jeanne earned the distinguished honor of “Airman of the Year” with her US Air Force command. This is no minor accomplishment – and she continues to provide that level of excellence here. She says it’s her primary goal to “make her cancer patients’ experience as easy and uncomplicated as possible.”
Mary Kempcke RN, OCN – Blair Clinic Coordinator
“One of the things I want cancer patients to know about Oncology Associates is that we give the best care you can get,” says Mary Kempcke. Mary should know — as a breast cancer survivor herself who also nursed both parents through cancer, she has seen all sides of the disease, both professionally and personally.Mary, an RN since 1977, is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society and has been at OA since 2001. Her personal experience with cancer is a source of her strength and care-giving, as well as her sense of humor. She recounts the time when wearing a wig during her treatments she hosted a bridal shower. “I went to check on the lasagna,” she says, “I stuck my head on the oven and it melted the wig. I had no idea!!”
Diane Konvalina RN, BSN, OCN
This Omaha native finds inspiration and support with her family. In fact, it was in caring for ill family members that she discovered her true vocation. Married, with a son and daughter, Diane is busy outside the office at the stables or ringside where she is “manager, groomer extraordinaire, cheerleader, staff member and financier of my daughter’s ‘horse habit’.” For Diane, Oncology Associates is one more place for the idea of family to shine.
Mary Helwig RN
“Sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching, live every day to the fullest.” That’s Mary’s motto. This mother of six has been married for over 28 years “to the same man”, she notes with a grin. She lives on a farm and loves being a mom and growing pumpkins. Obviously family is a central theme in Mary’s life. What she wants people to know is that the Oncology Associates practice and staff does not just treat the patient, but also cares about and supports the family as well. With 20 plus years of Oncology and Surgical Nursing behind her, Mary continues to be passionate about her work. She loves meeting the patients and gaining inspiration from their stories.
Michael Thompson RN
Not many people would say their professional inspiration is a clown – especially in the medical field. But for Michael Thompson, the MD and social activist Patch Adams, provides an ideal balance between science and compassionate healing. Another inspiration for Michael is family. “I have had seven family members with cancer and those experiences have fueled my passion for oncology,” he recalls. Michael’s other passions include fast cars, hunting and great food and wine. He was raised in Iowa, but was born in Italy, where his mother instilled an appreciation for fine cuisine. “She taught me to cook with enthusiasm and creativity,” he says, which is something he brings to the clinic every day.
Lynn Swanda – RN
Born and raised in Long Island before settling down in Blair, OA’s resident New Yorker doesn’t even have an accent. Why nursing? Lynn got into it to give her patients the type of care and comfort that she herself would expect. She enjoys working with her patients from the start of their treatment, when they’re unsure about pretty much everything, so that I can help educate them on the process and guide them through their treatment.” A fan of Mother Teresa, Lynn believes in the power of a humanistic-altruistic system of values. “If we all had just a little, the world would be a super wonderful place.” She loves cooking, swimming, traveling and meeting new people. Married for over 30 years, you’d never know she has two grown up kids!
Debbie Thurlby – Staff RN
If a volcano erupts, you can count on Debbie for help. She learned how to be self-reliant when she was in the Philippines and Mt. Pinatubo erupted. Even without any major natural disasters, patients can count on Debbie, who got into nursing because she felt she’d been very blessed (surviving volcanoes!) and thought it was time to give back. She loves to make her patients laugh. “If they’re laughing, they’re not thinking about cancer,” she says. And she loves it when her patients get their last chemo treatment, being part of the experience makes her heart glad. When she’s not dealing with volcanoes, Debbie enjoys quilting, reading, traveling and talking about her family.
Barbara (Barb) Gremm – Medical Assistant
What you see, is what you get with Barb, whose greatest satisfaction at OA is working for her patients, getting to know them and hear their stories. Not wanting a desk job, Barb new early on that she wanted a job that had a purpose for good in her life. She became a medical assistant, and she’s brought good to many in her 30 years of work. An Omaha original, Barb started out in gastrointestinal before switching over to oncology. When asked what she’d like her patients to know about OA, she responds “we care, we really do!” When Barb’s not caring for her patients, you’ll find her spending time with her husband. Looking at her, you’d never guess that she has three boys in their twenties.She also loves boating or being around the water. One patient of Barb’s always loved the blue jolly ranchers, so every week, on her appointment day, Barb would bring two of them to her so that she didn’t have to fish for them in the candy jars. Now that’s devotion!
Annette Donley – Medical Assistant
It’s all about caring for people for this self-proclaimed “Biker Chick”, who gets her biggest satisfaction by providing comfort, compassion and friendship for her patients. Married for over 27 years, she survived raising four boys and is now a grandmother, hard to believe, of three girls and three boys. Heartwarming story? No pun intended, but Annette has procured organs for donation!
Erin Horvath CNA
Erin brings a level of care and consideration to her work that stems from her inspiration – her patients. “I love getting to know the patients and families,” she says, “I learn something new from each one.” Wife, mother of two grown children and keeper of three(!) dogs, Erin is an experienced nurses’ assistant who has worked at Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital and Methodist Hospital.
Lynn Maca, Certified Medical Assistant
It’s really all about family for Lynn. Not only does this mother of five enjoy spending time with her family and friends, but she considers her patients and the staff at Oncology Associates as extended family. Her biggest satisfaction on the job is getting to know her patients and helping people. And she’s been doing it with gusto as a Certified Medical Assistant for over 12 years! When she’s not busy caring for others, chances are good that you’ll find Lynn working in her garden.