WHERE DO YOU WORK?
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (PMCC)
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Consultant
WHAT LED YOU TO WORKING WITHIN THE AREA OF LUNG CANCER?
I completed my graduate year in 2009 on the Head, Neck and Lung Cancer ward at the PMCC. I developed a passion for the lung cancer patient group. I realised that this patient group is often subject to nihilistic views. I felt very protective of my patients and over time developed a real passion for learning more about treatments and supports for lung cancer patients. I had the opportunity to cover the role of Lung Nurse Consultant and with extra funding and support a second role was created which I was lucky enough to get.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
I love the privilege of going on this journey with the patient. To meet them at their often lowest and most vulnerable point and be the support for them and their families throughout diagnosis, treatment and often end of life care. We are their navigation and support in an often overwhelming health system. I also love the team I work with. I feel exceptionally fortunate to work with amazing colleagues every day at PPMCC, The Royal Melbourne, and many other health services. Everyone is striving for a common goal of improving the lives of lung cancer patients.
WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
The most challenging part is that despite all the progress we have made over the years I’ve been working in lung cancer, the cure rate is still low and the levels of funding and support compared to other cancers is low. There are currently only 5 full time dedicated Lung Nurse Consultants in Victoria for a patient load that often spans across Victoria, NSW and Tasmania. This makes our job exceptionally busy and taxing at times. I often feel that I am not able to provide the care and support I would like to.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE FIELD OF LUNG CANCER?
I can honestly say I love my job and I feel privileged every day to work with the patients that I do. I would tell someone interested in this line of work that although it is mentally very taxing at times and can have sadness, the patients are generally genuinely grateful. They really make you feel that you are making a difference to them and their family’s lives.
WHAT HOBBIES / ACTIVITIES DO YOU ENJOY OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Spending time with my family and friends. Covid and lockdowns have really reiterated what is important in my life and the people who matter the most. When I am not running after two children under 3, I like to unwind by baking and reading