Team Member Spotlight: Ashley Marenyi, RN

Please meet Rush Radiosurgery team member Ashley Marenyi, Radiation Oncology Nurse.

Ashley Marenyi is a registered nurse at Rush Radiosurgery, primarily working with head and neck cancer patients.  She has over five years of experience in the healthcare industry and joined the Rush Radiosurgery team in July 2018.

Ashley received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  While in her undergraduate nursing program, Ashley worked part-time as a Patient Care Technician at IU Health Bloomington Hospital in the Cardiac Recovery unit.  Upon graduation from Indiana University in May of 2016, she started her nursing career in the Medical ICU at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois.  Two years later she joined the Rush University Medical Center Medical ICU team.

“I felt that Rush University Medical Center was calling my name,” said Ashley.  “Rush’s incredible reputation in the Chicago-land area is undeniable, and I knew I wanted to be a part of such an impressive organization.  I was fortunate to be offered a position in Rush’s Medical ICU, making it a smooth transition from one organization to the other.”

While working at the bedside in the critical care environment, Ashley realized that her heart was very much with a different specialty – oncology – and she left the ICU to join Rush’s Radiation Oncology team.

In her role as an oncology nurse, Ashley helps Rush Radiosurgery’s head and neck patients requiring radiation therapy throughout their treatments, from their initial consultation with the doctor through their first few follow-ups.  When a patient comes to see radiation oncologist Nikhil Joshi, M.D. for an initial consult and it is determined that they will require radiation, Ashley helps coordinate the radiation planning session and any additional imaging or testing that may be indicated.  On the radiation planning session day, also known as CT Simulation day, she provides initial education to the patient and their loved ones on what to expect at the time of simulation and throughout their radiation therapy.  Once patients start radiation therapy, she meets with them at least once a week to review any new side effects they may be experiencing and review different therapies to help reduce any symptoms related to their treatments.

“As the nurse on service, I help educate patients on topics such as adequate skincare, nutritional requirements, pain management techniques, and other ways in which they can better manage their symptoms,” explains Ashley.  “Once a patient has completed their entire course of radiation therapy, I help to get them scheduled for return appointments with the appropriate providers to ensure timely follow-ups.”

What Ashley likes most about her job are her co-workers.  “I am eternally grateful for the unparalleled support from my fellow nurses in radiation oncology, and feel lucky to know each of them as both colleagues and friends,” she says.  “I also love the mentorship that takes place every day within our head and neck team.  For example, Colleen Masters, the Advanced Nurse Practitioner for our CNS and head and neck oncology patients, has taken me under her wing from my very first day on the job.  She has allowed me to learn from her experiences as a clinician and has given me the confidence to pursue my advanced nursing degree.  I have also had the incredible opportunity to learn from Dr. Joshi.  In addition to Dr. Joshi’s outstanding bedside manner, he has an incredible wealth of knowledge and I feel honored to work alongside him.”

When not working or studying for her DNP Program (she is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Family Nurse Practice program at Rush University and is set to graduate in May 2023) Ashley loves spending time with her family and friends, reading, watercolor painting, and traveling.

Photo caption:  Ashley has a strong passion for traveling.  During a trip to Chile, Argentina, and Peru, she spent four days hiking the Inca Trail with her husband to see Machu Picchu!