Honoring the OHSU School of Nursing 2024 Alumni Award winners  | OHSU Foundation

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The OHSU School of Nursing Alumni Association recognizes alumni whose exceptional leadership, community service, innovative research or patient care impacts their communities, innovates their fields and reflects OHSU’s mission to deliver health care to all. 

Inaugural Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award
Lisa Radcliff, M.S.N. ’07, D.N.P. ’12, FNP, AOCNP

Sharing hematology and oncology expertise with the next generation 

Lisa Radcliff elevates communication skills in physician assistant and medical students, encourages graduate nursing students to pursue leadership roles

Lisa Radcliff

As the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Manager for the OHSU Community Hematology Oncology (CHO) Group at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Lisa Radcliff, M.S.N. ’07, D.N.P. ’12, FNP, AOCNP, is recognized as both an expert in hematology and oncology care and as a strong proponent of professional development among APPs.  

Radcliff’s professional development journey not start with nursing. She graduated from Portland State University with an undergraduate degree in political science and was working on her master’s degree in education when she discovered that teaching high schoolers was not the right fit for her. As she began re-evaluating her career options, she worked in customer service, including time spent as a bartender, where she says she learned some of her ability to empathize and communicate. 

Radcliff says, “If every doctor had to be a bartender for a little while – how to deal with emotionally illogical people? Honestly, that actually helped me.” 

As an undergraduate, Radcliff had thoughts of becoming an M.D. and had already completed the medical school prerequisites. Because she opted to join the health care profession in her late 20s, she chose nursing as the faster career track.  

“Working with adult learners fills my cup in another way. I am here to pass on to the next generation the knowledge they need to be successful and to take care of me.” 

Lisa Radcliff

She began working as a nurse at OHSU in 2005 on the bone marrow transplant unit and was soon pursuing her M.S.N. through the OHSU School of Nursing. After completing her graduate degree, Radcliff received her D.N.P. from OHSU in 2012.  

About her doctoral studies, Radcliff says, “It brought more high-level concepts of health care and distilled it down to how it touches the patient in a way that was unique. It made me a more thoughtful clinician and a more thoughtful human being engaged in the health care system.”  

Radcliff has found her nearly 20 years working in oncology fulfilling. “You’re welcomed into somebody’s space when they’re grieving, full of anxiety, facing end-of-life,” she says. “Being able to partner with them, reassure them, walk with them — regardless of the outcome, we need to help them along the way and make it the best journey possible.” 

In her current role, Radcliff regularly mentors graduate nursing, physician assistant and medical students and has devoted over 3,000 hours to preceptorship in the past 10 years. She strives to teach students how to connect and communicate with oncology patients, encouraging them to sit down and talk person-to-person. She teaches students the art of asking open-ended questions. 

“I ask a patient what they did this weekend,” she says. “They think I’m being nice and getting to know them. They say, ‘Oh I mowed the lawn and saw my grandkids.’ Or ‘I couldn’t get off the couch.’ That tells me their functional status and their ability to self-care.” 

Radcliff enjoys mentoring junior faculty, encouraging two NPs under her leadership to successfully pursue and advance to assistant professor positions within the School of Medicine. In her support of professional development, she has served as an appointed member of the School of Medicine committee for faculty advancement and development, chaired the OHSU APRN committee, and been a member of the APP Lead Counsel, App Compensation Committee and Knight APP Task Force.

Radcliff names retired OHSU oncologist, Mark Seligman, M.D. ’71, who served as Radcliff’s doctoral chair, as one of her own mentors. She observed how he conveyed empathy for his patients through both nonverbal and verbal communication.  

He also influenced Radcliff’s management style. Seligman was the only physician who ate lunch with his staff every day. Radcliff asked him about this habit, “He said, ‘If your staff sees you as a person, you will be a better team.’” Radcliff took this to heart and as manager of the CHO group, Radcliff regularly checks in with each team member, saying “I want them to both grow their career but also have work/life balance.” 

Radcliff was nominated for this award by five APP team members of the CHO group. One of her nominators, Jessie Weiler, M.S.N. ’20, FNP-BC, AOCNP writes, “Dr. Radcliff practices as an expert clinician and holds her team to high standards. We are incredibly grateful for her leadership and the opportunities that she has provided us.” 

Acknowledged for her hematology and oncology expertise at the Knight Cancer Institute and within the broader oncology and hematology community, Radcliff has been an invited speaker for the NW Medical Laboratory Symposium as well as the Advanced Practice Providers Oncology Summit. She helped OHSU to achieve and maintain accreditation through the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer as leader of the cancer survivorship and palliative care programs within the CHO. 

Given all of her accomplishments, Radcliff says, “Working with adult learners fills my cup in another way. I am here to pass on to the next generation the knowledge they need to be successful and to take care of me.” 

Inaugural Rural Health Excellence Award
Robin Claudson, B.S.N. ’88, M.S.N.

Inspiring students with her passion for primary care nursing in rural areas

Robin Claudson understands primary care nurses’ impact on patient care, encourages her students to elevate health in underserved communities

Robin Claudson

Robin Claudson, B.S.N. ’88, M.S.N. has a passion for providing primary care nursing in rural settings.  

“Primary care nurses bring in holistic thinking, population health thinking,” Claudson says. “We bring in all of our education, helping people control, understand and prevent their chronic conditions.” 

Claudson knows how important these skills are to health care teams in rural areas. She earned her B.S.N. at the OHSU School of Nursing, La Grande, the city in which she was born and raised. She began her nursing career in La Grande’s Grande Ronde Hospital. 

“I would take care of anything that walked in front of me,” she says. “A heart attack patient, a surgical patient, a car accident, a peds patient. You learn here in rural areas how to be a generalist in everything.” 

Next, Claudson moved to the Portland-Vancouver area, working at Adventist Medical Center for several years. When her children began attending elementary school, she became a school nurse in order to work more family-friendly hours. She returned to La Grande 10 years ago. 

“It’s a nice, small community. People are supportive,” she says. She appreciates her five to seven-minute commute to work. In 10 minutes, she is in the heart of the surrounding woods. She adds, “It’s absolutely beautiful here.” 

As assistant program director for the School of Nursing, La Grande, Claudson provides essential support to La Grande campus associate dean Patricia Barfield, Ph.D. ’17, M.N. ’07, on the Oregon Primary Care Transformation Program (OPACT) grant. The OPACT grant is housed within the School of Nursing to recruit and educate nursing students about the role of registered nurses in community-based primary care and as essential members and leaders within primary care teams.  

“The team we have here at OHSU is phenomenal. Not only are you taught to take care of your patient extremely well with evidence-based, high-quality care, you’re also thinking big picture.”

Robin Claudson

Claudson believes the education offered at the OHSU School of Nursing prepares her students to operate at a higher level on health care teams. 

“The team we have here at OHSU is phenomenal. Not only are you taught to take care of your patient extremely well with evidence-based, high-quality care, you’re also thinking big picture,” Claudson says. “You’re looking at processes. Looking at the population you’re serving, looking at the team you’re leading and what can you do big picture — at that 10,000-foot level.” 

As a faculty member of the La Grande campus, Claudson uses trauma informed practices in her seminars, focusing on social determinants of health care. In order to provide rich learning experiences for her students, she often invites guest speakers to discuss their work of supporting individuals experiencing mental disorders, substance use and houselessness.  

When her students begin patient care, Claudson says, “I want them to see a human being, not a diagnosis.” She encourages her students to examine their own preconceptions, “What bias do I have walking in the room that keeps me from listening to my patient?”  

Claudson also facilitates students’ experiences in rural primary care clinics throughout the region. She wants her students to recognize how important their clinical judgement and assessment skills are to successful patient outcomes. “I want them to have pride in being a nurse,” she says. 

After completing their rotations, several students of the La Grande campus have reported switching from their intended nursing focus and have applied for primary care nursing positions in rural clinics upon graduation. 

Fellow La Grande faculty member and nominator, Diana Siltanen, B.S.N. ’85, M.S.N., wrote of Claudson, “We need nurses to change the healthcare landscape for those who live in these rural communities. Robin is that agent of change.”  

Claudson believes her legacy will live on through her students. “As a nurse educator,” she says, “You’re making an impact for the future. Instead of one patient at a time, it’s one student who’s going to impact thousands of people.”