For clinical nurse specialist Robyn, it was the passing of her mother from bowel cancer when she was just 11 that sparked a passion to help people diagnosed with cancer.
“When an opportunity to do nurse training came up, I took it and loved it,” Robyn said. “After 13 years of nursing, I worked in a rural community-based district nursing and palliative care service. From there, I decided to specialise in palliative care.”
Palliative care helps improve the quality of life of a person facing a life-limiting illness. The life of a palliative care nurse is often an emotional ride – but for Robyn, it’s a job that was incredibly rewarding.
“I loved supporting those who faced the enormous challenges of living with a cancer diagnosis that can’t be cured,” she shares. “It’s really rewarding to help people manage their emotional and physical distress.”
In 2010, Robyn brought her experience to Cancer Council Victoria.
She now works on our Cancer Council 13 11 20 information and support line, where she listens to the many Victorians who call, looking for information, or for emotional and practical support.
“People often experience fear, anxiety and grief when encountering cancer,” she said. “It’s about helping these people in all areas – psychologically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s about drawing on that person’s strength, and helping them understand that with our help, they can get through this.
“The other day I spoke to a lady who was anxious and felt as though she was about to have a panic attack. She just talked. I didn’t offer any solutions; I just listened. After that, she said she felt so much better – that it was so good to have someone to talk to."
“There’s a huge need for support for people affected by cancer – and Cancer Council fills this need. It’s so important that people know about us, and that we’re here to help.”
If you or your loved ones are affected by cancer, you can call our experienced and compassionate cancer nurses on 13 11 20 or contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org