Sharing and support
FROM the stress of diagnosis, to the joy of remission and the grief of terminal diagnoses – breast cancer nurse Jodie Finlayson has seen thousands of local women and men go through it all in her 16 years in the job.
A staff member at Northeast Health Wangaratta, Jodie worked in district nursing and community health before assuming her current role.
She said while there have been many highs and lows over the years, she finds fulfilment in her work.
Among one of her proudest achievements is establishing the Go Girls support group, which has evolved to become a strong friendship and fundraising group, also catering to those in remission.
She said her work sees her work closely with a range of services at NHW and beyond, from diagnostic teams to doctors and allied health workers, as well as those involved in end of life care. Jodie also offers information, help and referrals. “Being able to make things a little bit easier” for patients has been among the positives of Jodie’s work, and she said she feels the best when she sees former patients in the community “doing normal things and enjoying life”.
While the survival rate for breast cancer is very high, around 90 per cent, Jodie said the lows of the job include losing people she has come to know – “you take that very personally” – but said she takes time to remember each person lost.
“It shows how fragile and important life is,” she said. “You can’t take it for granted.” Jodie urged members of the public to be vigilant about any unexplained changes in their bodies, as breast cancer has a variety of symptoms.
“Women know their bodies better than anyone else,” she said.