WHERE DO YOU WORK?
Shoalhaven-Respiratory Department and Cancer Care.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Specialist Lung Cancer Nurse
WHAT LED YOU TO WORKING WITHIN THE AREA OF LUNG CANCER?
I have worked in Oncology since 2002, becoming a care coordinator around 2006. I began my oncology career at Nepean Cancer Care Centre. I relocated from Western Sydney to the NSW South Coast in 2015 and started working at Shoalhaven Cancer Care. Not long after I commenced at Shoalhaven, a new care coordinator position was created and I was lucky enough to get that role. The role covered a few tumour streams-one being lung cancer. This was also at the time that immunotherapy was being introduced as standard treatment for lung cancer. This then prompted my interest in lung cancer and the treatment for it and slowly my passion began to increase. More recently the Illawarra/ Shoalhaven area was selected to be part of the SLCN pilot program. I saw this as such an exciting opportunity to be involved in and couldn’t get my application in quick enough!
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
I love so many things about my job!
I love that I am able to be a part of my patient’s lives, which for many is one of the most fearful times they have experienced.
Knowing that I can make some kind of difference for them during that time, is a great feeling, even if it is a very small difference. Sometimes this is just a voice on the end of the phone, listening and providing reassurance. I love that I am able to give patients and their family’s information and assistance to guide them along the way.
I love seeing the huge outcome changes in lung cancer that have occurred during my career. The fact that I am still in contact with patients who were diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer over 6 years ago brings me great joy.
I also love that I work alongside a brilliant team of respiratory and oncology staff. The other 3 SCLN’s, our project manager, the Lung Foundation staff, the respiratory physicians, medical and radiation oncologists, CNC’s, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, allied health and admin staff with Illawarra/Shoalhaven are the absolute best! It’s an amazing team who all successfully strive for the pone thing, to provide excellent patient care. And I love that after 20 years in oncology, I still learn new things almost every week.
WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
Following my relocation from Metropolitan Sydney to Regional NSW, there were definitely some new challenges.
We often have patients referred to Cancer Care without any histology, so many a day I’m organising biopsies. CT guided biopsies aren’t available within our local hospital, so most times our patients need to travel over an hour for the procedure.
There are other procedures that can only be done in Sydney, so the logistics of getting this sorted out can sometimes be very challenging.
We are always trying to provide the best care for our patients, but sometimes I feel I don’t quite get there because of the fact that some services just aren’t available in regional areas.
Once our patients have a diagnosis and staging is completed, our Cancer Centre can provide the same treatments available at bigger Sydney centres and the inconvenience of having to travel long distances suddenly diminishes.
It’s the lead up to diagnosis that I usually find the most challenging.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE FIELD OF LUNG CANCER?
Follow your interest!
It’s such an amazing field to work within.
There is so much learning to be done and it’s never ending. The treatment outcomes have improved so much during my career and I can only see this continuing to improve.
WHAT HOBBIES / ACTIVITIES DO YOU ENJOY OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I’m a netball tragic! WD- ‘here if you need”.
I’ve just starting a 5km running program- about to meet my end goal of 5kms next week. The longest distance I have ever run in my life!
I’m an at home ‘Masterchef’-or so I think. Love cooking and entertaining.
Always enjoy a glass of Rose and a cheese platter at the end of the week to wind down.
Spend as much of my free time as I can with my kids and numerous animals-greyhounds, one eyed beagle, mini dachshund, 3 cats, 4 goats, budgies and chickens!!!!