Q&A: Robyn Tucker, Cancer Council 13 11 20 nurse

Thursday 9 June, 2016

Cancer Council Nurse Robyn Robyn has 20 years of expertise in palliative care. Combining her roles as a palliative care nurse and a 13 11 20 nurse enables her to offer an experienced and compassionate voice to callers looking to understand what to expect from palliative care.

What kind of issues do you see and hear from people facing palliative care?

People affected by a serious cancer diagnosis that cannot be cured, often find themselves distressed and overwhelmed. Issues raised are around the emotional challenges and how to manage symptoms. The financial impact of cancer and planning for the future are also common concerns. Where to access support and how to communicate with people about their prognosis are also common topics discussed with callers.

How can palliative care help people ‘live well'?

Palliative care offers support by understanding what is important to a person and their family. It can be used to help address physical problems, and provides emotional, spiritual and social support to help people live with the best quality of life possible.

How did you get involved in working in palliative care? Tell us about your other nursing experience.

Twenty years ago, I worked in a rural community based district nursing and palliative care service. I loved working with and supporting extraordinary patients and their families who faced enormous challenges living with a cancer diagnosis that could not be cured.
From there, I decided to specialise in palliative care, and worked at Mercy and Melbourne City Mission community based Palliative Care services. I now divide my time between working in community nursing in the Macedon Ranges and at Cancer Council 13 11 20.

Describe a typical day at Cancer Council 13 11 20

People often experience fear, anxiety and grief when encountering a diagnosis of cancer. Cancer Council 13 11 20 nurses give people the opportunity to talk about these issues and are able to provide support services to address their emotional needs.
On a typical day, we discuss cancer prevention and screening tests, and provide information to people just diagnosed with cancer. We also talk to people about where to find support and link them to services.

What's the best thing about being a Cancer Council nurse?

The best thing about being a Cancer Council nurse is being able to link people to so many support programs. We are a telephone based service that is easily accessible to everyone in the community, regardless of whether they live in a rural or remote area. I wholeheartedly encourage people to call us on 13 11 20 to find out how we can help.

Call 13 11 20 today and speak to one of our experienced and understanding cancer nurses for reliable information and support.


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