By Staff Writer - December 18, 2019
They are identical twins, born just five minutes apart. Now adults, it took five years for Jaclyn Narney to convince her twin Laura Anderson to join her at Moffitt Cancer Center. Both now work behind the scenes to ensure clinical trials track patient data to a tee.
We asked the twins about Moffitt, their roles and the challenges of working with an identical twin at the same company. Answers were edited for length.
How did each of you wind up working at Moffitt?
Jaclyn: I was the first one hired at Moffitt almost 15 years ago. I actually started in patient satisfaction, doing phone surveys. I would call patients and survey their satisfaction with either their inpatient hospitalization experience or outpatient experience. And I just really loved working here. So I shared with my sister what a great environment and career opportunity Moffitt was. Then she was fortunate to be hired here as well.
Laura: Yes, I started in 2010 after graduating from the University of South Florida. I started in receiving, delivering packages throughout the Stabile Research Building. One of my passions has always been research, so I actually moved into the research role first. Then I told Jaclyn how much I just loved it. We both got our degrees in Mass Communications with Advertising, and one of the things that we enjoyed was doing focus groups and gathering data on different things for campaigns. To be gathering data in an oncology setting with research and care was just so wonderful. So I talked Jaclyn into coming over to the research side. She is now doing data management for hematology studies, and I'm working in data on phase 1 clinical research studies in solid tumors.
Did you have a medical background before this job?
Laura: I did not have a medical background. But I really enjoyed the research. And we received training through Moffitt, especially in the medical terminology.
Jaclyn: That's another reason why I love Moffitt. There's so much career opportunity and growth here. And it's a wonderful institution. In this role as a data specialist, I'm constantly learning. Whether it's the disease itself, like the myelodysplastic syndromes I work in or malignant hematology, I'm constantly learning about the disease. And every day is always something different, which is wonderful.
Laura: Being in data, we have the option if we wanted to become a clinical trial coordinator that oversees the study. But what I love about the data is being more behind-the-scenes, where it’s less emotional. I get the satisfaction of seeing these patients who might not have had the quality of life if it wasn't for these clinical trials. To see that success is just really, really rewarding.
So, has there been any confusion with identical twins working in your area?
Jaclyn: Sometimes new staff will come on board, and they won’t know until they'll run into one of us in the cafeteria and try to start a conversation not realizing it’s the other twin. They're perplexed as to why we don’t recognize them, and then they figure it out. We keep people on their toes for sure.
Laura: Exactly. I had an experience back when I was still delivering packages around Moffitt. A team member in Biomed who knew me from my deliveries was at Publix. And Jaclyn was behind him in line. He thought, "Gosh, Laura is so nice at work. But outside of work she won’t say hi?" Of course, it was because she didn't know who he was. When I went to work the next day, he asked "Why weren't you talking to me at Publix?" And I was like, "I didn't go to Publix this weekend. You must have seen my twin sister. She also works at Moffitt." And he's like, "No way!" So I told Jaclyn - you have to do me justice when you're outside of work if you see somebody from Moffitt, so they're not thinking I'm being rude or antisocial outside of work!
Is there anything you’d like people to know about being identical twins?
Laura: I would just say that even though we look alike, we have our own individuality. Because even though we have similar mannerisms, or expressions, we have our own likes and dislikes. How about you Jaclyn?
Jaclyn: I was going to say the same thing!