INSPIRED TO CARE MCGRATH NURSE HELPS FIGHT CAN­CER

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES + SERVICES - Laura Tri­este

SPEND­ING her time mak­ing other peo­ple’s lives bet­ter has had the same im­pact on Vicki Bell’s life.

As a breast care nurse for the McGrath Foun­da­tion, she is con­stantly inspired by the peo­ple she meets.

“They have ad­ver­sary and they just face it and get on with it,” Ms Bell said.

“Hav­ing a job like this opens your eyes up to what’s re­ally im­por­tant in life and it makes you ap­pre­ci­ate and be grate­ful for ev­ery­thing that you do have.”

Ms Bell vis­its pa­tients at Camp­bell­town, Cam­den and Bowral Hos­pi­tals and said she works with more than 300 pa­tients a year.

“We see women at any stage of di­ag­no­sis. Our ser­vice is free so they can ring us and we can as­sist them with sup­port, whether that be emo­tion­ally, psy­cho­log­i­cally, phys­i­cally – what­ever they need,” she said.

This can in­clude pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on treat­ment op­tions, pal­lia­tive care and sup­port for emo­tional is­sues from body im­age to fam­ily re­la­tion­ships.

“A lot of the time we see peo­ple at their worst, but by sup­port­ing them we watch them be­come em­pow­ered,” Ms Bell said.

“You need to be per­cep­tive and pick up on the cues – ver­bal and non ver­bal – and the dy­nam­ics of a fam­ily.”

With more than 30 years’ nurs­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Ms Bell said she en­joyed the sta­ble hours she worked.

“Our hours are 8.30am to 4.30pm, Mon­day to Fri­day and we have a mo­bile phone that pa­tients can con­tact us on,” she said.

“You have to be a reg­is­tered nurse, then they like you to have ad­di­tional train­ing in breast care nurs­ing.”

Ms Bell said it was won­der­ful to see ad­vance­ments in treat­ment that have led to a higher sur­vival rate.

“It’s ex­cit­ing with new re­search, new drugs, new treat­ments and hope­fully bet­ter out­comes, which we are see­ing now,” she said.

Pic­ture: ROBERT POZO

McGrath Foun­da­tion nurse Vicki Bell at Camp­bell­town Public Hos­pi­tal.

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