A graduate of Columbia’s Nursing’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program with a subspecialty in oncology, Linda Armstrong ’16 ’18 has been passionate about helping patients living with cancer and their families, ever since losing her mother to the disease at a young age. “Cancer is one of those diseases that changes a family’s life so drastically, and these patients deserve caring clinicians to help guide them through this journey,” she says. At Columbia, Linda volunteered as a peer mentor, peer leader, and founder and president of the Oncology Nursing of Columbia student organization. She was named a 2018 Campbell Award recipient by the Columbia Alumni Association in recognition of her exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit. She has joined Boston Medical Center/ Boston University Medical School as an NP/ Faculty Instructor in hematology/oncology, and lives in Boston with her husband.
Linda is a Rudin Foundation Oncology Scholar.
Why did you decide to pursue nursing and why did you choose Columbia Nursing?
My interest has always been in cancer and genetics. I lost my mom to cancer and wanted to contribute to improving the field. I was drawn to Columbia Nursing’s emphasis on leadership, its oncology subspecialty, the opportunity to train in the most diverse setting in the country, and the program’s reputation.
What did you gain from your education at Columbia Nursing?
Exposure to diverse populations. Working in Manhattan and the Bronx introduced me to such a wide variety of cultures and people that I now feel comfortable in any situation, and have the confidence that I can work with diverse patient groups to provide the highest quality of care. Additionally, working as a peer mentor, peer leader, and founder and president of the Oncology Nursing Club helped me sharpen my leadership skills. Columbia Nursing encouraged and helped me to learn and develop these skills, which I'm using in my work with the Boston Oncology Nursing Society.
What are you passionate about, and how has being a student at Columbia Nursing allowed you to follow that passion?
I am passionate about helping patients living with cancer and their families, particularly people from underserved communities. Throughout my time at Columbia, I was able to specialize in this area. Starting the Oncology Nursing Club allowed me to bring together similarly interested students. We hosted speaker events, socials, and community service and education. It was a great way to engage outside of the classroom.
What’s the next step in your career?
I am excited about my new position at Boston Medical Center/ Boston University Medical School. Once I have a bit more experience, I look forward to precepting and mentoring graduate students in this joint appointment role. I would like to earn a doctorate in the near future, and participate in the Oncology Nursing Society locally and nationally. I also want to continue learning Spanish to be able to serve my patients better.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Columbia Nursing?
Wearing the vintage nursing uniforms with my friends and with nursing instructor Mary Moran for Reunion, and being part of the legacy was such a special experience. The experiences at this school transcend years. Everyone remembers their nursing school BFF, the overnight shifts, last-minute ironing of scrubs, rushing to the trains, the wide-spread nervousness during finals, and the shared sense of accomplishment after the last clinical shift. It's hard, sometimes grueling work, but this school truly prepares amazing nurses.
Read more 2018 graduate profiles.