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Her patients become like family

Dr. Dianna Shipley, Tennessee Oncology at Sumner Regional Medical Center

By Dessislava Yankova

When it comes to treating cancer, Dr. Dianna Shipley’s encouraging words to patients are the best medicine.

Her patients and coworkers agree: Shipley, 49, has a humanitarian heart that runs full time and does not turn off when she leaves the hospital.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 11.01.23 AM“The world thinks that if you have cancer, it is all bad,” said Shipley, who knew she wanted to be a doctor since childhood. “That’s not true. Our patients become like family, and we have many celebrations. It’s very rewarding.”

Shipley is much more than a doctor. She goes above and beyond to show others she cares and she is there to help with anything she can at any time. Her patients say she treats them as people, not as illnesses. Once Shipley called a patient out of the blue from the grocery store and said, “I’m in the deli and want to bring you something for supper. Do you prefer chicken or ham?” She later delivered the meal.

Shipley supports her patients and their families by personally attending and sponsoring cancer events.

Shipley is instrumental in initiating the now highly successful and self-sustaining “Look Good… Feel Better” hospital program that provides free resources to help women improve their body image changed by cancer.

She promotes a positive work environment with decorations, events and Halloween costumes, making it a positive experience for staff and patients, alike. It’s not uncommon for her patients to say, “I love coming here for chemo!” Anything she can do to make the experience better for the patients, in or out of the office, she does, her staff says.

Every Year, Shipley donates money to and shops with children in need through various organizations for the holidays. She also pays for children to go to summer camp. When she lost a patient who had young children and limited resources, she and her husband took the family Christmas presents and food to their house.

Shipley has helped employees with everything from baby showers and wedding showers to emotional support over family deaths to helping with scheduling to ensure educational goals are met. She serves as a positive role model and leads by example.

All in a day’s work, Shipley also makes time to send personal notes and make charitable donations in memory of deceased patients.

Once a month, new cancer patients are invited to a luncheon with a guest speaker. They can bring a guest. Through free-to-them products such as make-up, scarves, wigs and aesthetics consultation, women can improve their body image. Through a partnership with the American Cancer Society, the program draws people from throughout the county and beyond. For more information, call 615-328-5517.