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  1. Ferguson, Vernice D. R.N., M.A., F.A.A.N., F.R.C.N.

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This lectureship was created to keep alive the memory of Robert Tiffany, cofounding member of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care and initiator of the Biennial International Cancer Nursing Conference.


Robert Tiffany started his career in cancer nursing in 1967 when he went to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London to undertake an oncology nursing course. Twenty-six years later he had transformed the hospital and the specialty of cancer nursing beyond recognition. His great commitment to cancer care was founded on the belief that nurses could dramatically change the care given to patients, and it was this vision that drove him forward throughout his lifetime.


We must realize that during the 1970s the mere mention of cancer instilled fear in every patient and was associated with an immediate sentence of death, loss of control, pain, and despair. Robert Tiffany embarked on a lifelong campaign to overturn those misconceptions. He proved that skilled nurses play a crucial role in preventing cancer, instigating early detection, and improving the quality of life for people with cancer. He made the Royal Marsden Hospital a very special place for the patients, a place where pride and tremendous hope ruled and where patients became involved in their own care.


The Royal Marsden Hospital also became a shining example for the recognition of nurses' clinical skills. Robert Tiffany fought hard for nurses to be educated at the master's degree level. He encouraged his staff to become involved in research and concentrated all his energy and skill on the speciality of cancer nursing.


Robert Tiffany not only headed nursing in his own hospital, but shared his talents on a much wider scale that encompassed the national, regional, and international levels. It was Robert Tiffany who organized the First International Conference on Cancer Nursing in London in 1980 and subsequent conferences in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, and 1992.


A founding member and an inspirational leader of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care and the European Oncology Nursing Society, Robert Tiffany became the voice of oncology nursing internationally for everybody who wanted to listen. For those who would not, he always found ways to make them listen. His relentless zeal for excellence and his tenacity were well known, as was his capacity to infuriate those close to him. In the end, however, his great charm and magnetism prevailed.


It surely would take too long to mention all of Robert Tiffany's achievements for cancer nursing worldwide. To say he was an inspiration is an understatement because there are thousands of nurses who never met him, but owe him a great debt, although Robert Tiffany never saw it that way. He exposed them to the high professional standards he himself strove continuously to maintain and improve. He brought great credit to our profession and increased knowledge for a worldwide audience.