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Perspective

Clem Byard, Cancer Council Victoria Support Line Cancer Nurse

Clem Byard, Cancer Council Victoria Support Line Cancer Nurse

“The human connection made with somebody on the phone is a bit of magic that can lift someone out of having a horrible time”

With limited opportunity for face-to-face interactions during lockdown, cancer nurse Clem Byard played an important role answering phone enquiries from people affected by cancer.

Clem provided support, care, and information during the uncertainty of the pandemic. His role was to stay up to date with rapidly changing government and health directives. This information was then passed on to callers to help alleviate some of their concern, especially when it came to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination alongside cancer treatments.

Callers often presented with multiple concerns and a general sense of feeling overwhelmed. Even if Clem was unable to resolve all major concerns within the space of one phone call, he was able to provide information and assurance that went a long way to helping people feel less overwhelmed.

For instance, if a caller was presenting a list of five concerns, even resolving two of them allowed them to feel a calming sense of clarity in their cancer journey

While providing information and resources are important parts of Clem’s process, the ability to engage in meaningful conversation can be just as valuable.

“Being able to refer back to consistent, authoritative information increases people’s confidence in everything you say and allows them to take comfort from the advice that you give.”