Spirit of Excellence: Oncology boutique praised in new book

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

HACKENSACK, N.J. - The Ellen H. Lazar Shoppe on Fifth Oncology Boutique is in the news and on bookshelves this month following the release of a new book highlighting the shoppe’s quality and customer service.

The boutique, located in the Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, is featured in the book, “The Spirit of Excellence: How Health Care Organizations Are Achieving Service, Quality and Satisfaction,” which was released in late September. It is a compilation of 150 entries submitted over the last several years to the Sodexho Spirit of Excellence Award competition.

The book is being co-sponsored by Modern Healthcare Magazine and Sodexho Healthcare Services. The editor, Kristine E. Peterson, is a former judge of the Sodexho Awards, which spotlight innovative healthcare programs.

“We are extremely proud of [our inclusion in the book] because it shows us to be in tremendously good company with other healthcare operations that are doing excellent today,” said Constance Niclas, a certified mastectomy fitter and supervisor at The Ellen H. Lazar Shoppe. “While we would have liked to win the big award, this is almost better. It’s gravy.”

Why has the boutique found itself among such distinguished company? “Because we never think of ourselves as a retail store,” said Niclas.

The Ellen H. Lazar Shoppe is a specialty provider structured around meeting the special needs of cancer patients. It offers the personalized services of certified mastectomy fitters and sells a complete line of merchandise including clothing, wigs, lymphedema products and accessories.

When it opened in 1999, the shoppe was the first oncology boutique in a hospital setting in the state of New Jersey, and playing off its success, Niclas has become advocate for the inclusion of oncology products ands services at medical centers and at HMEs.

“I think you are seeing more and more hospitals doing it, and I think you are seeing a lot more people wanting to service the whole community at large because we are baby boomer age and most women get cancer in their later years,” said Niclas.