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Few events have highlighted the essential work nurses do like the current pandemic with International Nurses Day, celebrated on Tuesday, inspiring recognition and appreciation.
On this day, the Cancer Centre for Children Oncology Consultants decided the best way to describe the remarkable nurses they work with, as a collective noun, was as “a compassion of nurses” saying it conveys the “strength, resilience and the calibre of care they so willingly and generously provide the children and families under the care of our Cancer Centre”.
For nurses in the Cancer Centre for Children, every day is varied and sometimes unpredictable, with this special day dedicated to nurses a reminder of the profession’s importance.
Robyn Woodhouse, a paediatric Oncology nurse for 30 years now working in the Oncology Treatment Centre, describes why she decided on this focus for her career.
“I fell in love with the children and their families, and you form really deep relationships with them, I think. You get a rapport with the families and that forms a bond, and trust, and you can really help them get through their journey. That's what I love about it.”
Working in the clinic involves education as well as helping to provide cancer treatment. “We do a lot of education with each family, to begin with, around a patient’s diagnosis, side effects, and just to make them feel comfortable and aware of what's going on. We also give chemotherapy and blood products, do dressings, give immunisations, put NG tubes down, help with general anaesthetics, lumbar punctures, and bone marrow aspirants.
“We do all sorts of other things too. For example, sometimes we get sick children coming in with fevers, and they are critically ill, so we have to look after them straight away and get them started on antibiotics.”
A career dedicated to nursing can involve aspects that may surprise people unfamiliar with what the profession involves. “The responsibility we have might surprise people, as well as the hours that we work, often without really eating or drinking or going to the bathroom.
“I really think the knowledge and professionalism that nurses have now is an important aspect of what they do. We are required to keep our education updated and learn about the latest research.”
It’s easy to see how nurses like Robyn Woodhouse are often considered the ‘face of the Cancer Centre’ as they play a vital and visible role in how it helps patients and families.
To celebrate International Nurses Day, Cancer Centre nurses gathered together to enjoy a snack provided in their honour.
For the “compassion of nurses” who dedicate themselves to the Cancer Centre for Children’s families and children, and their colleagues in this hospital and all over the world, thank you for everything you do.