betty ferrell
ONS member Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, director of the division of nursing research and education at City of Hope in Duarte, CA.

As a trailblazer and pioneer in palliative care and end-of-life research, ONS member Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, director of the division of nursing research and education at City of Hope in Duarte, CA, has improved the quality of life for countless patients with cancer throughout the world. In recognition of her vast contributions to oncology nursing science and patient-centered care, Ferrell was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest medical honors in the United States, on October 21, 2019. She joins the ranks of only 2,200 other medical professionals to be appointed to the Academy.

“I am deeply honored to be elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine and to participate in the important work of the Academy influencing health care,” Ferrell said. “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues at City of Hope as I celebrate my 30th year as a researcher in the cancer center.”

Ferrell’s work with palliative and end-of-life care has been key to improving patient and caregiver quality of life as well as advancing oncology nursing practice. As its principal investigator, she leads the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium, a program that has trained professional end-of-life educators in 99 countries and all 50 states.  

Focusing on quality of life, family caregiving, and palliative care, Ferrell’s contributions to the profession are vast. She has published more than 450 journal articles—including pieces for the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and the Oncology Nursing Forum—and she is the author of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing, among other books. She was ONS’s 2011 Mara Mogensen Flaherty lecturer, presenting on the psychosocial care of patients with cancer at the end of life. She is currently the principal investigator of a National Cancer Institute-funded study of palliative care integration for patients with solid tumors in phase I clinical trials.

“Dr. Ferrell’s work in palliative and end-of-life care has been instrumental to informing practice for oncology nurses and palliative care nurses everywhere,” ONS Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, said. “Her commitment to nursing excellence is a testament to her dedication to patients with cancer and the nursing profession as a whole. Her selection to the National Academy of Medicine highlights the impact oncology nurses have on all facets of care, and we congratulate her for this tremendous distinction.”

ONS is a professional association of more than 35,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.