Stephannie headshot on blue background

MNCCTN Site Staff Spotlight: Stephannie from M Health Fairview

While MNCCTN is based at the University of Minnesota and led by the Masonic Cancer Center, MNCCTN's research is conducted at sites throughout Greater Minnesota. These sites are led by MNCCTN Partners: Essentia Health, M Health Fairview, Mayo Clinic Health System, Metro-Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium (MMCORC), and Sanford Health. MNCCTN's Partners are integral to the network's work and progress, and we could not enroll participants throughout Minnesota with MNCCTN Partners and sites. Altogether, 135 people are working with MNCCTN in some way statewide. These roles include investigators, research coordinators and nurses, project managers, regulatory staff, lab and pharmacy staff, and more. We want to highlight the incredible work that MNCCTN Partner and site staff do.

Today we are highlighting Stephannie, Oncology Research Nurse at M Health Fairview. Stephannie started with MNCCTN in October 2023 and works at Northland Medical Center in Princeton. Learn more about Stephannie's career path that led her from working with animals as a vet tech to nursing and clinical research, what she enjoys and finds most challenging in research, and recommendations she has for people interested in research or just starting out in their career. 

Partner Staff Spotlight featuring Stephannie K, Research Nurse at M Health Fairview

What was your career path before your current role? 

I started my adult working life as a Certified Veterinary Technician and worked in a small animal clinic for four years in Baxter, MN. From there, I came to the “big city” and worked for Medtronic for 10 years in pre-clinical research with no intentions of ever leaving that job. However, in 2013 my job position was eliminated due to mass layoffs at the company. After that I thought about how I could turn that difficult time of job loss into something positive. That is when I decided to go back to school for nursing with the intention of getting a job within the clinical research nursing role. I now have six years of clinical research experience working with cardiology studies. I stared my current role in October 2023 with oncology being brand new to me, but I am loving learning a new area of care.

What interested you in research as a career?

I have always been drawn to research and feel like it is my “calling.” To be able to contribute to new and upcoming treatments and helping to improve and potentially save patients lives is so rewarding! 

What are three words that describe your team at M Health Fairview and the research community?

Caring, kind, passionate

What is your favorite part about working in research? What is most challenging?

I love working with patients and their families. It is so wonderful to be able to contribute and help people through my work in research. As in any profession, there are many challenges within the work role, but I think being patient is key as many parts of research can take longer than expected.

What qualities and skills do you think are important for a job in research?

There are many, but I think the most important are attention to detail and being able to think critically.

What recommendations do you have for someone interested in research or just starting out in their career?

I would encourage anyone who is interested in research to reach out to a research professional and job shadow.  There is so much involved in research, and it would be very hard to paint the full picture to someone interested without spending time with them to be able to see firsthand what it is all about.