Helping Newly Minted CTRs Get the Experience They Need to Succeed


Marketing Manager


“Our mission at Registry Partners is, ‘Getting there together, whatever it takes,’” shared Heather Donohue, Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) and Quality Consultant. “Our employees are always helping others—even in Facebook groups and professional forums. That’s just what we do.”


Heather brings this same attitude and outlook to Registry Partners’ Internship Program, which she oversees. From the interview process through to curriculum development, mentoring, and teaching, she is dedicated to helping prepare new CTRs for the field.

“Hospitals need qualified CTRs, but they don’t have time to train them. Interns can’t get experience, which has been compounded because of the pandemic. Our program fills that void,” Heather explained.

After starting in a state central registry in 2013, Heather moved to a remote hospital job before finding Registry Partners in 2018. “Registry Partners challenged me to grow while giving me multiple career paths to try so many things. I love mentoring other CTRs and quality professionals, and when I was asked to join the Internship Program, I was beyond excited.”

The Internship Program gives newly certified CTRs the opportunity to increase their abstracting skills, with site-specific abstraction on practice cases over the top sites. Throughout the internship, mentors work with interns to increase their proficiencies, providing feedback and guidance for improvements along the way. As a full-time paid employee, the intern is also eligible for all Registry Partners benefits.

“Registry Partners is committed to quality, and this program is incredibly impactful and necessary,” said Heather. “We teach these new CTRs, show them the ropes, and mold them into high-quality professionals. It’s important to note that if we don’t do high-quality work in this field, we can skew data, and maybe there won’t be advancements or breakthroughs in cancer research. We all take this program very seriously.”

Although it’s obvious that education and mentoring are Heather’s passions, she said that, as the Internship Program leader, she also learns quite a bit.

“It’s incredible to be able to share this field with our highly skilled interns. I’m teaching them, but they’re teaching me too. They come from different backgrounds and experiences, and we all have something to offer one another.”

“In our interns, we look for people who are driven, organized, are willing to put in the effort and who can accept constructive feedback and grow from it,” Heather pointed out. “They need the experience, and we go above and beyond to prepare them for a successful career.”