Every day, oncology nurses provide care with an unwavering commitment to patients, their families, and communities across British Columbia. Oncology Nursing Day (April 4) is an opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the significant impact BC Cancer nurses make in the lives of people with cancer.
This year's theme is "Oncology Nursing: Strength Within," which acknowledges the skills, behaviours and resources that allow nurses to remain adaptable in the face of challenges. The theme is particularly timely after all we've experienced in the past few years; a global pandemic, extreme weather, increasing demand and heavy workloads.
We spoke with a few BC Cancer nurses about this special day to share what they love most about their work and what Strength Within means to them.
- Raman Sandhu is a clinical nurse educator who has been with BC Cancer for 9 years.
- Jane Chun is a staff nurse at the Vancouver centre who has been with BC Cancer for 6 years.
- Kelly Hodgins is a registered nurse in the operating oncology clinic who has been with BC Cancer for 3 years.
- Lee Ellis is a licensed practical nurse in the radiation therapy department at BC Cancer – Abbotsford who has been with BC Cancer for 9 years.
JC: Being able to work with an amazing group of talented, knowledgeable, and empathetic co-workers on a daily basis. Each day I have the opportunity to do meaningful work and support patients throughout their journey.
KH: My patients are in the fight of their lives. To support them during this journey is deeply rewarding.
LE: I have the tremendous honour to be a part of the PHSA family encouraging, supporting and making a difference in the lives of our patients, their families and friends, co-workers and the inter-disciplinary teams in radiation therapy.
RS: To achieve Strength Within for me means to strengthen my skills by building on concepts that I already am using in my day to day work with patients, families and colleagues. It also means to help those around me tap into their own strength within and support one another to achieve our goals.
JC: To me, Strength Within means having the steadfast composure and compassion to assist our patients who are often going through one of the most challenging health events in their lives.
KH: Strength Within means being self-confident and courageous. It means showing great empathy to my patients every day no matter what.
LE: Strength Within means accepting challenges and roles open- heartedly. I have embraced these and overcome many to always achieve what is expected of me and to excel in every respect. I have diligently tried my best to reach out and encompass many aspects of my role's daily requirements and activities which help make patient review and patient support seamless - always embracing them with love and respect.
JC: Nurses are often a patients first line of communication and they are responsible for managing and coordinating the patients' care. Our responsibilities include patient assessment, providing education about their condition and their care, providing direct patient care like administering chemotherapy, coordinating with other health care professionals including technicians, pharmacists, administrative staff and physicians.
LE: Patients are faced with a tremendous journey ahead of them when diagnosed with cancer. As a team, nurses go above and beyond to show patients compassion, knowledge and integrity as they complete their cancer journey. We are guided by nursing guidelines and PHSA policies and approach all of our interactions from a culture of respect.
RS: Oncology nurses provide support and care to a diverse population of oncology patients and families. On a daily basis they establish therapeutic relationships and foster trust, compassion, and kindness all with a high degree of skill. Their role is vital in our healthcare teams and for patients and families. I want to also recognize and thank all the oncology nurses for all their hard work and dedication!
2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Oncology Nursing Day, developed by The Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO). Since 2003, April 4 has been a day to recognize the incredible role oncology nurses play in our national health-care system.