Every day, BC Cancer nurses provide care with an unwavering commitment to patients, their families, and our communities across British Columbia. The theme for this year's Oncology Nursing Day is "Together Again: Connection, Reflection and Celebration", which acknowledges the importance of remaining connected, while also honouring and reflecting upon all that has transpired in the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
"Oncology Nursing Day recognizes the tremendous work of oncology nurses and the impact they make on our patients and their families each and every day. These past two years have not been easy for nursing. In addition to the pandemic, many of our collective traumas—extreme weather events and flooding among them—have been amplified in the cancer setting due to the clinical vulnerability of the patients we work hard to support. Yet, despite these challenges, our nurses have demonstrated remarkable strength and have continued to serve our communities," shared in a message to all nurses from Ruby Gidda, executive director, BC Cancer – Abbotsford and executive director, operations and professional practice (nursing and allied health) and Dr. Leah Lambert, executive director and senior scientist, nursing and allied health research and knowledge translation, BC Cancer.
There are countless ways that our nurses go above and beyond to improve the lives of patients and families living with cancer. In celebration of this day, we hear from some of our nurses on the most rewarding part of their work and what inspired them to pursue the profession of cancer care.
Debbie Caleca is a registered nurse who works in the ambulatory clinic at BC Cancer – Vancouver. In her role, she primarily sees patients with gastrointestinal malignancies and works closely with oncologists to assess, manage and support patients through their cancer treatments.
"Helping patients is my first priority. First visits after a cancer diagnosis can cause great anxiety and fear about what lies ahead. Sharing information with patients, addressing their needs, and helping them navigate through their treatment journey allows them to better understand and prepare for what's ahead. Many are so grateful for the time I spend with them to help alleviate some of their fears and anxiety around their diagnosis and treatment," says Debbie.
Sarah Felber is a systemic therapy registered nurse and clinical nurse educator at BC Cancer – Victoria. In the systemic therapy room, Sarah's role includes conducting patient assessments, administering systemic treatments, providing patient teaching, and supporting patients through their treatment journey. In her educator role, she ensures that nurses are up to date on their education, new drugs, and feel supported with upcoming learning opportunities.
"The most rewarding aspect is supporting patients through what can be some of their hardest moments, and being able to help them navigate through them a little easier. I also love my extremely supportive coworkers who make the environment so pleasant for patients and staff alike," says Sarah.
Ashley Morgan is a systemic therapy nurse at BC Cancer – Surrey. Prior to joining BC Cancer, she spent a decade as an ER nurse and is proud to have the transition to cancer care.
"I enjoy the patient care aspect of the job. I feel I can spend quality time with my patients and talk to them about their lived experience and provide compassionate care," says Ashley. "I like the supportive environment and the staff I work with. I feel well supported as a new oncology nurse and have a group of coworkers that are pleasant to work with."
Jennifer Scott is a registered nurse at BC Cancer – Prince George. With over 20 years of experience in nursing, she was inspired to go into oncology to care for patients during a time in need. "Every patient is so appreciative of your care and help. You get to know your patients and their families so well. I try to make my patients feel important by learning about them, talking about their life, goals, and experiences. It makes them feel like they are more than just a number," says Jennifer.
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of her career, Jennifer shared, "Our patients are going through some of the hardest times of their life and if we as nurses can make their experiences as positive as possible then I have done my job. To listen, care, and even make my patients laugh is so rewarding. To apply all my experiences and critical thinking when patients are in need is very rewarding in a professional and personal way. The greatest thing I can hear from my patients is that 'you are my angel'. That is the biggest reward and gift possible to get as a nurse for me."
Thank you to all our amazing nurses across BC Cancer for going above and beyond to care for patients and their families facing cancer.
If you are interested in learning about nursing opportunities at BC Cancer, visit jobs.phsa.ca/bc-cancer-jobs