Fiorina (Fi) Gibbons
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
Western Cancer Centre Dubbo
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Lung Cancer and Melanoma Clinical Nurse Consultant
WHAT LED YOU TO WORKING WITHIN THE AREA OF LUNG CANCER?
I kind of fell into it. I wasn’t sure it was right for me but as I started engaging with patients and understanding the disease I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. My sister also died from small cell lung cancer. She experienced the stigma of patients with lung cancer and as a family we had no idea what the right treatment was or what was going to happen. I believe that helps me connect with patients and families and what they may be experiencing.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
I love all the unique people I get to meet and listening to the tales of their lives. It helps you be a less judgmental person. It also highlights the blessings in my own life and reminds me to live in the present. It is satisfying when patients express their gratitude for the assistance and understanding I try to give them. I like having the clinical knowledge of what is going on and translating that into language that patients and families understand. For some patients I am the only person they have in their lives to support them.
WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
I feel very frustrated by the lack of support offered to regional and rural patients by the government. Those living in these areas have limited resources, terrible access to reliable, consistent transport and limited medical and social supports. This makes me feel helpless when it could be so much better. The current financial supports do not make up for these inequities. In addition to this allied services during cancer treatment is simply not available in a way that is easy to access or timely for most regional and especially rural patients.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE FIELD OF LUNG CANCER?
Go for it – it is highly rewarding! Many people think working in oncology and lung cancer is morbid and depressing. I feel it is a real privilege. There are success stories, there are deaths. We are all born and we will all die someday. If I can offer support, care and assistance to the patient and their families then hopefully their lives may be lengthened, the experience of their illness is softened and they feel well cared for across the domains. For families after the death of a loved one that also remains in their memory. That is what I hope for.
WHAT HOBBIES / ACTIVITIES DO YOU ENJOY OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Oh gosh, so many, I need more holidays. My husband and I have 3 teenage sons (so there is lots of cooking) but I most love to garden, to paint, play my ukulele badly and get away to camp and hike whenever there is a chance. These things to me are a priority in leading a well-balanced life and is vital for a healthy mind and soul.