Early in her career Nicole Bradshaw thought she had a perfect plan.
“I was on track to do medical research,” Bradshaw says. “But I quickly learned that I wasn’t patient enough to be a full-time researcher. You have to be really patient to get results.”
So, research wasn’t in her future.
But health care remained a passion.
“I’ve been at St. Luke’s for almost 25 years now,” Bradshaw says. “The last 12 years I’ve been with our oncology services. Right now, my role is director of operations. I have oversight of all the cancer services west of Boise, so that’s Meridian, Nampa, Fruitland and into Baker City.”
It’s a role Bradshaw takes seriously.
“I’m just very passionate about the prevention of cancer,” she says.
The more Bradshaw talks about her role at St. Luke’s the more animated she becomes.
“That’s where I get excited – trying to figure out how to make things better for our patients, not just locally, but nationally,” she says.
Bradshaw has performed a variety of other roles at St. Luke’s, including performance improvement coordinator, immunization coordinator and infection control practitioner.
Her varied background in health care makes her uniquely qualified to engage with the different patients she may encounter.
A recent event added to her understanding of those patients: She was diagnosed with melanoma.
“I just found out I had cancer in August, and I had surgery at the end of September,” Bradshaw says. “Luckily, they were able to get it all with the surgery and I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy or radiation.”
Bradshaw says she spends a lot of time in the clinics she oversees, and she now does so from a different vantage point.
“Going through what I did – even though I didn’t do the full treatment – it definitely was eye-opening,” Bradshaw says. “Just hearing that you have a diagnosis of cancer … it’s hard to explain. It definitely puts you in (patients’) shoes, as far as understanding how they feel.”
But Bradshaw doesn’t spend a lot of her time at work talking about it.
“To be honest with you, I haven’t really been open about having cancer because the people that I work around, they are going through so much (more) than I did,” Bradshaw says. “So, I don’t want the focus to be on me … because it’s about them.”
This selfless philosophy isn’t new for Bradshaw. She has a history of community service.
Bradshaw is chairman of the board of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce, commissioner for the Caldwell Historical Preservation District and is active in Delta Delta Delta sorority, the College of Idaho booster club and the Nampa Christian Foundation.
“Nicole is a very professional, quiet leader,” Debbie Kling, the president and CEO of Nampa’s Chamber of Commerce, and a 2017 Women of the Year nominee, wrote in a letter of recommendation.
Despite her numerous commitments, Bradshaw insists on finding time for her three teenage boys.
“We do a lot of sports,” she says. “My boys have always been very active. I’m not sure what sport we haven’t tried.
“It’s pretty busy for my husband and I, because we really do make it a goal to be at all their games. But to watch what they get from school athletics and just being involved with their teams, it’s very good for kids. It helps them work together.”