When Janet Davis first stepped through the doors of the Durham Outpatient Center in 1994 to interview for a job at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she was astounded by how big the medical center had grown.
"It just seemed so huge to me at the time," said Davis, an office assistant to the nurse manager in the Clinical Research Center (CRC).
Fast-forward 26 years, and Davis, who will retire on Nov. 30 from the Clinical Research Center, is still awestruck by the continued growth at UNMC and not just in physical space.
"When I started in the CRC we had just four employees, and now we have more than 40, and the number of studies and the work we do now has just grown significantly," Davis said.
Davis recalls her first office space was on the top floor of Swanson Hall, which has since been replaced by the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. However, she said they did not have any space to see patients, so they did research visits in any available space they could find. The CRC was finally given space on the third floor of University Tower, where they remain. Yet, Davis said it would be years before that space was finally remodeled to the current clinic.
"We've outgrown our clinic once again and along with the space on the third floor of University Tower, we also now have offices in the Eppley Cancer Institute along with some folks who are working from home. It's phenomenal to me how much the CRC has grown," Davis said.
Throughout her years of working in the CRC, Davis said she has met many memorable patients and witnessed some unforgettable clinical trials.
Two particular studies stand out, Davis said.
The first was a study that looked for a specific antibody in people that would indicate a predilection to the development of diabetes later in life.
The second was a CBD trial for epilepsy.
"It was so exciting to see how well the CBD worked in some people who at first would be on so many medications that they were almost lethargic and once they began their treatment they were able to stop taking some of their meds. It was such a stark contrast," Davis said.
Through all of her years with the CRC, Davis said she has most enjoyed the comradery of her coworkers and the patients.
"I love my job. You get so attached to people who come in for the clinical trial. It was the highlight of my day to work with these people, and that's why I stayed at UNMC so long," Davis said.
"Janet started in 1996 and was one of the first people I hired to help us start the Clinical Research Center. She has been amazing to work with over the years. She knows everything that we do and how we do it but best of all she knows why we do it a certain way," said LuAnn Larson, director of Clinical Research Operations for the CRC.
Larson said Davis has been the face of the CRC greeting everyone that came and making them feel welcomed and supported.
"I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for me, the Clinical Research Center and UNMC. She will be missed by everyone, but she will be missed the most by me," she said.
Said Davis: "The CRC is a great team and I have made so many strong friendships. My friends and coworkers in the CRC have truly become by work family. When I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia four years ago my coworkers were there for me and helped make my journey much easier."
As for her retirement plans, Davis said she and her husband Mike have purchased a travel trailer and hope to spend time traveling to visit family in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina; as well as spend more time with her four sisters who live in Omaha, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Congratulations! You are awesome! I can not tell you how much you have meant to Gabby and I as we spent 3 years in her drug trial. You were definitely someone we looked forward to seeing! Love you much and hope you make it to Montana in your travel trailer! We are very close to Glacier National Park if that help at incentive!! Thank you so much, Sherry
Congratulations Janet WELL DONE. I'm so excited for you to enjoy your retirement.
Congratulations Janet, may your travels be filled with health and happiness!!! Super great article on you. You're amazing!!
Congratulations Janet! We certainly had some fun times and did great work! Love you! Sue B
Congratulations!! And to think back when you applied you didn't think you could do the job 😊. So happy for you.
Congrats, Janet! Enjoy your new chapter of life!
So PROUD of my Aunt Janet. She is hard worker and very dedicated to her job. Happy Retirement and come to Atkinson to visit now that you have time.
Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement!
Congratulations on your retirement!!
So proud of my little sister. And so excited to spend our retirement years together.
Congrats Janet, I was one of the first 4 employees of the CRC, to work along side of you, & where we first meet and remain close friends to this day.....
Congratulations, Janet! We will miss you!!
Woo hoo Janet! You helped me navigate the research world at UNMC and I am very grateful for all of your help and advice! Your kindness, sarcasm, and sense of humor will surely be missed!
Congratulations Janet! You will be missed! It was a pleasure to work with you.
Janet! Enjoy a well-deserved retirement!
Congratulations! One of the best who will be missed!
Congrats Janet! Enjoy your family and your travels!
Congratulations! You'll be missed!
Janet, Enjoy your retirement! It has been a pleasure working with you.
Janet - Enjoy your retirement, you will be missed more than you know.
Congratulations on your retirement Janice! Enjoy and have fun!
Janet - you will be missed. Thank you for helping grow Clinical Research at UNMC/NE Medicine. Enjoy retirement!
Janet - anything we can do so you'll stick around another year or two? :-) Congratulations again and thank you for all your time and dedication.