PATIENTS in Rebecca Goldman’s care can sit for treatment for up to eight hours.
She’s the new cancer care coordinator nurse at Tamworth Hospital, and her job is to make the toughest time in a person’s life that little bit easier.
“It can be a challenging environment to work in, there are people who come through having difficult days and you’ve got to be there to support them,” she said.
“It can be tough mentally and emotionally – not just on the patient themselves and their families but it can take a strain on the nurse caring for them.
“We do get attached because you see them regularly, you get to know what’s going on in their lives and how they’re travelling through treatment.”
The cancer care coordinator position has just been created at Tamworth Hospital, thanks to a $650,000 donation from JobLink Plus.
Ms Goldman’s role is to walk beside cancer patients and their families as they navigate an often confusing and foreign medical system.
Sometimes getting patients to accept the help is the hardest part.
“Some patients are reluctant to say they’re struggling or need support – it’s learning to ask the right questions,” Ms Goldman said.
“Quite often you know they’re struggling and can see it but you have to wait until they’re ready to put it forward and accept it.
“A lot of the time the patient doesn’t want help but the family needs it, it can take a couple of chats to get that through to the patient and let them know the family are going through the journey as well.”
At the North West Cancer Centre, patients receive chemotherapy and radiation oncology, for such a serious time in their lives the patients appear surprisingly upbeat.
Knitted breast prostheses sit in baskets, along with scarves and beanies dropped in by a slew of volunteers.
“I often say it’s us entertaining them for the day or them entertaining us, because we can get quite a jovial scene on the floor some days and to be honest it needs to be,” she said.
“Even the patients comment that it’s such a lovely place to be, it’s happy, jovial, it takes their mind away from what they’re going through and things that might be dragging them down.
“My philosophy is always that I should treat my patients as I would my family member, it’s providing support and care, knowing they’ll walk out of here at the end of the day being provided the utmost level of care.”
Ms Goldman’s position is funded for the next four years with Hunter New England Health.