Erlanger Nurse honored with “Nurse of Distinction” award

Chattanooga, Tenn. – The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) has announced the annual Meritorious Service Awards recipients include an Erlanger nursing veteran. Janet Kramer-Mai, RN, BSN, OCN, CN-BN, was named “THA Clinical Nurse of Distinction.”

Kramer-Mai has been with Erlanger for over 20 years creating a legacy of compassion, hope and servant leadership. She currently serves as the Director of Cancer Support Services. In 1999, she joined Erlanger as an Oncology Certified Nurse. She is a pillar of the Erlanger family and the community at large. She has participated in and orchestrated numerous community programs for education and supporting cancer research and patients.

Erlanger President and CEO Dr. William Jackson said “I am exceptionally proud of Janet and she is very worthy of this recognition. She is a strong leader and advocate for patients at the Erlanger Cancer Institute. There is a very specific level of care and compassion that only a fellow cancer survivor can provide to patients. Janet is a cancer survivor, and as such, has an unmatched level of compassion and empathy for her patients.”

Not only is Ms. Kramer-Mai a passionate oncology nurse, she is also a cancer survivor. Her personal battle with breast cancer gives her a different level of credibility and empathy for her patients. She knows firsthand the financial, emotional, mental, and physical struggles her patients are experiencing.

One example of her compassionate nature is shown in her heart pillow project. A couple of her aunts originally started the project by sewing her a heart-shaped pillow for support during her cancer battle. The pillow turned out to be useful in multiple ways and she immediately set out to share their usefulness with others. Her aunts continued to sew the pillows for Erlanger’s patients until they passed. Afterwards, Kramer-Mai began working with local cancer survivor groups to make the pillows. Since then, she has spearheaded a project to distribute thousands of heart shaped pillows, many adorned with encouraging phrases and Bible scripture, to breast cancer patients all over the world, providing support in more than one way.