A group of individuals stand as pillars of strength and support for our patients and caregivers at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). They are the exceptional team of oncology nurses, dedicated to helping cancer patients by providing emotional support and help to navigate their treatment journey. This encouragement helps allay anxiety and fears, and empowers patients to face their future with hope.
We shed light on the key roles they play to help patients and their families cope with cancer.
Staff Nurse Michelle Wong, from the Ambulatory Treatment Unit, shares that the best part about her job is interacting with patients. She acts as a patient advocate and often lends a listening ear to patients. “Even if a patient’s cancer is at an advanced stage or their prognosis may be poor, listening to them and providing comfort is what makes my job worthwhile,” said Michelle.
It brings her joy when patients, who have successfully completed their chemotherapy treatment, drop by to say ‘Hi’ when they come to the NCCS for follow-up appointments. “Going through highs and lows, journeying with patients can sometimes be emotionally challenging but it is a privilege to be able to care for them.”
As a Senior Nurse Manager, Chee Kun specialises in perioperative nursing care, which is provided to patients before, during and after a surgical procedure. Chee Kun believes that delivering a high standard of perioperative nursing care contributes significantly to the overall success of the surgery and well-being of patients and their caregivers too.
One such example was when he encountered a young patient’s mother in the waiting area of the operating theatre, who was anxiously waiting for news about her daughter in surgery. By updating her about the progress of her daughter’s surgery, Chee Kun was able to help alleviate her worry and provide great comfort at a stressful time.
Senior Nurse Clinician Yanqi is an Advanced Practice Nurse who provides specialised clinical services at the Ambulatory Treatment Unit, Specialist Oncology Clinics and the Chemotherapy Review Clinic.
From managing adverse drug reactions during chemotherapy infusions, to performing bone marrow aspirations and biopsies for patients at Ambulatory Treatment Unit, Yanqi also facilitates and develops nurses’ trainings to ensure care standards are maintained and up-to-date.
At the Chemotherapy Review Clinic, in consultation with the oncologists, she assesses, diagnoses, and manages patients who experience adverse side effects from their treatment. “My collaborative prescribing certification allows me to prescribe medications that patients may need to help manage their symptoms,” shared Yanqi. She also ensures that patients and their families are well-supported and educates them about their medications and what to expect during cancer treatment.
When asked what the best part of her job is, Yanqi answered without skipping a beat: “Expecting the unexpected! My daily work is never routine and I enjoy that”.
Staff Nurse Jonathan Tang specialises in the care and management of lymphoma patients. He sees patients in between their chemotherapy treatment cycles to review their blood tests, checks for side effects and empowers patients by providing essential education that enables them to care for themselves.
Jonathan stresses the importance of regular follow-ups with patients during treatment, as prolonged side effects could affect their quality of life and result in possible treatments delays.
Being in regular contact with his patients has allowed Jonathan to build a strong rapport and relationship with them. In turn, they trust him and confide their concerns and challenges, which allows him to effectively provide holistic care.
Nurse Clinician Connie Ong works in NCCS’ Specialist Oncology Clinics where her role includes caring for patients, managing staff and performing administrative work.
Connie takes pride in being a role model and mentor her team members. Drawing on her expertise in clinical management of patients, she implements up-to-date clinical practices to ensure quality care is delivered to patients while creating a positive and caring work environment.
Accordingly, the delivery of safe and quality patient care is of paramount importance to Connie. “I work closely with my team to ensure we provide safe care, adhere to established workflows and exercise effective communication to ensure our patients are safe while they are in our care,” shared Connie.
Senior Nurse Clinician Beng Choo specialises in supportive and palliative care. Beng Choo finds it meaningful to deliver patient care that alleviates physical and emotional distress through symptom management, psychosocial support, and education. She also gets satisfaction from improving her professional skills, gained through knowledge and skills-sharing and collaborating with patients, caregivers and the multidisciplinary care team.
Care does not only apply to patients; it applies to caregivers too. Beng Choo, who often receives calls from caregivers seeking help or expressing their challenges, goes the extra mile to help caregivers cope with the challenges they have caring for their loved ones. The support of the multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals is important to facilitate the management of complex issues and reduces caregiver stress.
This is the story of oncology nursing
The story of oncology nursing is inspirational and a testament to their unwavering commitment and the positive impact they have on the lives of the patients and families they serve. It highlights the true essence and character of this group of nurses, and their unyielding dedication, resilience, compassion and profound empathy and for all those in their care.
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