For Trocaire alumna Cynthia Samborski, nursing came as a surprise

Cynthia “Cindy” Samborski never planned on becoming a nurse.

When Cindy was in her 20s, this West Seneca native was married, had two children and owned a cleaning company she had started with a close friend.

“The two of us drove to all of our cleaning jobs,” Cindy says. “We would always hear Trocaire commercials on the radio.”

Intrigued, they finally decided to attend an open house to see what the college was all about.

Nursing: An unexpected surprise

Cindy did not go into the open house planning to dive headfirst into a career in healthcare. In fact, she had no interest in Trocaire’s healthcare programs at all.

“The last thing I wanted was to be a nurse,” she says. “My friend wanted to learn more about the program, so I went with her. The Trocaire nursing instructors gave such interesting information about the profession that I became hooked.”

And that was that: Cindy began taking nursing classes part-time at Trocaire and was able to graduate with her associate degree in nursing in 1991.

Cynthia Samborski

A career in research education

Cindy spent years in the field but eventually decided that she wanted to continue her nursing education and grow into the management side of the industry, as well. She completed a bachelor’s degree in management from Houghton College and a dual master’s degree in nursing and health administration from the University of Phoenix.

As Cindy was ready to complete her master’s degree,she was offered a job as a clinical research nurse at Roswell Park Cancer institute. In this position, she worked with patients to test and research new breast cancer treatment drugs. She also spent two years as a floating research nurse, enjoying brief yet intense areas of clinical research study in various cancer units.

Cindy was then offered the role of clinical research educator at Roswell. In many ways, this was a dream job, allowing her to pursue an area she felt very passionate about.

“When you think about the employees at a cancer research institute, you’d assume they would have  a clear understanding of what research is, but that isn’t always the case,” she says. “The idea of research is so stereotyped. I wanted to work within the institution to dispel the negative ideas of research and to educate staff on the basics.”

While her responsibilities include working with hospital departments, Cindy also does a significant amount of outreach with local schools and organizations to teach the importance of research.

“There are not enough cancer drugs on the market,” she says. “People forget a drug as simple as Motrin® had to be tested on many patients before it was approved. We need the same kind of attention and participation for cancer drugs. My mission is to bridge the gap: to provide more outreach and increase researchers in the field.”

The big picture: Making a widespread difference in nursing

Her work as an educator continues to evolve.

Last year, Cindy was asked by D’Youville College to teach a course about clinical research as an adjunct professor.

“My favorite part of being a professor is interacting with the students,” Cindy says. “I love to learn their views and hear their opinions.”

In addition, Cindy wrote “Nursing, An Amazing Career,” a light and fun book that examines the career from her life perspectives.

“I wanted to teach people about the reality of nursing,” she says. “I also wanted to open up the conversation for patients to understand the perspectives of a nurse.”

Cindy is also the president elect of the Western New York chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society, a group that keeps nurses updated with current information about oncology nursing. She will take over as president for two years in 2016.

In the rare moment that she has free time, she enjoys gardening and outdoor activities.

“I love to learn new things and educate myself,” Cindy says. “It is up to nurses to decide the future of our profession, since we have the most interaction with patients. I want to inspire other nurses to continuously improve and embrace research in order to give patients the excellent care they deserve.”


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