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Borrowed Sweaters, Warm Blankets, and Big Hugs: A Q&A With Sue Campbell, Texas Oncology-Tyler

Did you always know you wanted to work in healthcare, specifically with cancer patients?
Working in healthcare didn’t occur to me from the get go; however, I’ve always liked helping people – sick or healthy. Once I started my career, I felt like it’s what I was supposed to be doing all along.

What are your main responsibilities as a scheduling supervisor?
I oversee all of patient scheduling. Mainly, I’m here to ensure that all appointments and treatment run smoothly. For patients, we want to ensure that they have the most pleasant experience possible while they’re here – even though what they’re doing isn’t necessarily one’s definition of “fun.”

What drives you to stay with one organization for so long?
My mom and dad taught me “when you find a job, stick with that job.” When I joined the team, I had no intention of ever leaving – it never crossed my mind. Seniority back in the day was the “in” thing, and I still believe that if you come to a place, you stay and work hard. To this day, I don’t ever think about or plan to leave Texas Oncology because this is my home. The team here in Tyler and beyond is my work family, and I enjoy it immensely.

What is the culture like at Texas Oncology? Has it always been the same?
When we were just starting out, we only had one physician in Tyler. I remember Dr. Merrick Reese, the founder of Texas Oncology, would come in from Dallas and take calls over the weekend, just so our team could have some time off. While he was in Tyler, Dr. Reese would also take all of us out to lunch. That’s just how we work – and have always worked. We take care of one another.

What motivates you to continue coming to work and helping patients in the fight against cancer?
When I wake up each morning, I always think about the new patients that are coming in and getting their diagnosis. They’re just starting their journey, they’re scared, and I want to make sure I’m there for them from the beginning. My main goal is to do something that will help patients in the moment – right then and there – and help them feel at ease. One time years ago, a woman was cold and the heater was broken in our waiting room. I immediately thought, “What if that was me?” I took my sweater off and offered it to her. At the end of the day, simple gestures mean a lot here.

What has working with cancer patients taught you about resiliency in the human spirit?
Our patients teach us not to give up. We watch them react to good and bad news, and it puts hope in our hearts. Several of my family members have had cancer and working at Texas Oncology gives me a better understanding on how they might be feeling and what they might need. A cancer diagnosis could become a reality for any of us. If that day ever comes for me, I want to be right where I am at Texas Oncology.