April 5th National Oncology Nursing Day. Today we recognize the essential role oncology nurses play in providing care in the NWT. Claire Brookes is an oncology nurse at Stanton Territorial Hospital and has lived in the NWT for almost her entire life. She feels drawn to this area of nursing and has been working on the oncology unit for over 4 years.
“I build relationships with patients during a vulnerable period of their life, and it feels good to be able to care for them in a way to make them more comfortable or make them smile. It’s so simple, but I love bringing people warm blankets because you can see the relief on their face when I wrap the blanket around them.”
Claire explains that the pandemic has been challenging for cancer patients, as many of them couldn’t risk getting sick, so visiting the unit was the only outing they would go on.
“A memory that has always stuck out to me is related to this. A patient had completed their course of treatment with us and whenever a patient reaches a milestone in their treatment, we encourage them to ring the bell on our unit as a celebration. This patient rang the bell and started crying because it meant they no longer had any appointments to come see us for. It felt special to know that we turned what could have been a difficult situation into a positive one for them. We always encourage patients to come back and visit when safe to do so.”
Throughout her time on the Oncology unit, Claire has continuously striven to improve her education. She recently completed a smoking cessation education program to be able to teach on this topic to patients and has also achieved her Canadian Nurses Association national certification in oncology nursing, showing her dedication and commitment to evidence-based nursing practice.
Thank you to Claire and the team of oncology nurses in the NWT, for consistently provide quality care to patients and for the profound impact you have on the lives of cancer patients and their families.
For more information on cancer care in the NWT, visit www.cancernwt.ca.