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Not Just a Career, But a Calling: Monica Tripodi APRN, MSN, FNP-C, AOCNP

May 25, 2022

This Nurses Month, we spoke to Monica Tripodi, APRN, MSN, FNP- C, AOCNP, at Texas Oncology–Arlington South and Mansfield, on her 20-year career in healthcare and why Texas Oncology holds a special place in her heart.

Growing up, Monica Tripodi knew she wanted to work in the medical field. She began her career as a pharmacy technician for the U.S. Air Force in 1997. After serving for four years, she decided to retire and move to Texas, taking valuable knowledge and lessons she had learned.

In 2005, Monica joined Texas Oncology–Austin Central as a pharmacy technician. When Monica first started, she had never considered a career nursing. However, what originally started as a long career in pharmacy quickly shifted after she walked through the doors of Texas Oncology.

“As a pharm tech, I would watch the oncology nurses at the clinic interact with patients and was touched by the level of compassion they showed,” said Monica. “It made me realize how much I wanted to engage with patients and be right there on the floor with them every step of the way.”

Touched by their resilience, Monica went back to school at The University of Texas at Arlington to become a nurse so that she could help others the way her co-workers at Texas Oncology did every day. After graduating, Monica worked at a local hospital on the cancer unit to get more experience as an oncology nurse.

“During my time working at the hospital, I kept thinking to myself, "I can’t wait to get back to Texas Oncology." When I worked there as a tech, I admired how the team treated the whole patient. Texas Oncology truly felt like home, and I was ready to be back,” said Monica.

Soon after, Monica joined Texas Oncology in Fort Worth as an infusion nurse, helping patients going through chemotherapy. But she didn’t stop there. Three years in, Monica went back to school once again to become a nurse practitioner to further help and spend more time face to face with patients.

While in school, Monica moved to Texas Oncology–Arlington South and Mansfield, as a floating nurse between the two locations, helping wherever she was needed and in various nursing positions including infusion, radiation, breast, clinic, and oncology.

“When I was a floating nurse, every day was different. It taught me about the various sectors of cancer care that I don’t think I would’ve gotten anywhere else. I’m very thankful to Texas Oncology for providing me the opportunity to diversify my skills while in school. I’m where I am today because of them,” said Monica.

After obtaining her degree, Monica continued working at the two locations as a nurse practitioner, helping educate and counsel patients in chemotherapy.

“If I could go back and give myself advice as I was starting, it would be to just keep pushing forward – it will all be worth it,” said Monica.

Since starting her new role, Monica has also been working toward getting her certifications for various cancer care specialties. Recently, Monica got her genetic certification at the City of Hope, through a Texas Oncology scholarship.

“Throughout my career, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that there is always something new to learn. Cancer research discovers new findings every day in drugs, treatments, and guidelines. Every day I’m finding out something new,” said Monica.

For over two decades, Monica has led by example in showing others that they can do anything they put their heart into. She continuously pushes herself to learn more and grow her expertise.

Why do all of this? To help those fighting cancer.

“My patients are the sweetest people I’ve ever met. They have a newfound love for life that inspires me. You get to know them and their families on a personal level too. I had a patient one time who came in to get his chemo pump removed and brought me three banana trees he had dug up from his backyard all because one day during treatment we talked about plants. I still have those trees in my backyard,” said Monica.

Nurses like Monica who became a nurse to help patients get through one of the hardest times of their life, is why Texas Oncology is proud to recognize all nurses statewide this Nurses Month. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and compassion toward our patients.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.