Stories of Impact

Chelsie Ikeler's Story

Chelsie Ikeler began her professional career working in customer service, because she always knew she wanted to work with people.  However, her mother’s unexpected tragic battle with lung cancer in 2008-09 prompted Chelsie to start a journey on a very different path.

“My mother passed away on the Hematology/Oncology floor at Rochester General (RGH),” recalls Chelsie.  “The nurses that I met and interacted with at RGH during that incredibly emotional time were the real reason I ultimately decided to pursue nursing.  I thought, ‘I want to be able to provide for others what these amazing nurses provided for my mother, my family and me.’”

After receiving her degree in nursing, Chelsie started her nursing career on the very same floor where her mother received her care.  When the Lipson Cancer Institute opened at United Memorial Medical Center, Chelsie decided to make the move and is now a registered nurse there in both Radiation Oncology and Medical Oncology. 

In addition to her daily patient care responsibilities, Chelsie has recently taken on a new role in clinical education where she has developed key processes to facilitate crucial conversations between staff and patients and their families.  From her own experience, she recognizes the importance of clear and compassionate communication throughout the entire patient journey.

“Oncology patients are going through the toughest battle many of them have ever faced.  It’s a scary, confusing, painful process and we are here to do our very best to provide our patients with emotional as well as medical support.  Making sure patients and their loved ones fully understand what is happening is incredibly important.”

When asked about the best part of her job, Chelsie smiles and answers immediately, “The patients are amazing – simply amazing.  Being able to care for them and help them any way I can is what motivates me to come to work every day.  When you care for a patient throughout their entire cancer battle, and then they come in after completing treatment and are cancer free - that is the best feeling in the world.”

Because Care Matters
Chelsie has overcome personal loss and translated that experience into meaningful, compassionate care that she provides to her patients each and every day.  Go to to learn more about the Campaign for Rochester Regional Health.

More Stories

Full list of Stories Share Your Story