10 years of leadership and care: Meet nurses who have gone distance

PCFA

This International Nurses Day (May 12), Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is celebrating 10 years of leadership and care from our Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses.

Three of our Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses have been part of the service since its inception and continue to play a vital role in their local communities to this day.

Ian Henderson from Royal Hobart Hospital, Lisa Ferri from Hollywood Private Hospital in Perth and Deirdre Kiernan from Mater Hospital in Brisbane first joined the new service as Specialist Nurses in May 2012 alongside nine others as part of the program launch.

10 years on, they’re still just as committed as ever to their roles and to the men they support.

Ian said it has been an incredible experience being part of the service from inception and watch it grow from 12 nurses in 2012 to 100 nurses today.

“There are so many highlights. When you get a heartfelt thanks from men and their partners who were initially very anxious and you’ve been able to put their mind at ease, or provide a referral that has made a real difference, it is really satisfying,” Ian said.

Lisa agreed that it was hard to pick just one highlight from her time as a PCSN.

“It has been a fantastic experience, from the very beginning. I really can’t pick just one – I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to establish such an important service from the ground up, to raise awareness of prostate cancer, and be involved in developing the original resources and contributing to the ongoing development of the network.”

For Deirdre, her highlight has also been watching the service flourish.

“Watching the service grow in numbers and also in strength, and seeing the positive impact on patients is very rewarding. In terms of both diagnosing and treating prostate cancer the improvements and significant changes in the past ten years has resulted in better outcomes for our patients. To be part of a unique group of nurses and have peers who motivate and inspire you to strive for improvements in the care provided is special,” she said.

Over the past 10 years, our Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses have supported around 70,000 men through 260,000 instances of support, providing treatment advice and information, referrals, side-effect management, and importantly, a listening ear.

“When people see the PCFA shirt they really listen to you, and they trust you which is a huge credit to PCFA. As nurses, we are here to make life a bit easier for the men and their families and make the whole journey less stressful,” Ian said.

While each day working as a Specialist Nurse can bring plenty of highs and lows, Ian, Lisa and Deirdre said their motivation remains consistent.

“My motivation has always come from providing continuity of care and establishing a relationship with men as you support them through what is often the most difficult time of their lives. When a patient encounters a problem, and you are the person they call it is very rewarding having the ability to assist in guiding them along the right path,” Deirdre said.

Lisa said what motivates her is wanting the best outcomes for patients and being able to assist men and their families in navigating prostate cancer treatment pathways.

For Ian, it’s about having a job that he really enjoys and being able to initiate moments of joy throughout the day.

“You get a lot of appreciation for the work you do and when you can turn stressful situations around and have the patient laughing and joking at the end of the consultation despite it being such a serious topic is really rewarding.”

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