Dedicated Outreach Nurse joins Cancer Wellness Centre

Posted 9 Jun 2022

A partnership between Flinders Foundation and Cancer Council SA is providing a dedicated nurse for people affected by cancer in the Flinders Cancer Wellness Centre.

Cancer Council SA Outreach Nurse, Polly, is available for appointments, or a casual chat over a cup of tea or coffee in the Cancer Wellness Centre, Tuesday – Thursday, every week.

Polly’s primary role is to support patients with cancer and their families by connecting them with information, resources, services and support groups. An experienced oncology nurse, Polly is also there to listen when people want to share their experiences, or if they are having a challenging day.

“I’m not injecting people or providing any physical treatments; these patients are enduring enough of that. I’m someone outside of that space. We can provide a lot of support for people, individuals as well as families, and that’s why we’re here,” Polly said.

“Having a place like the Cancer Wellness Centre is amazing. People can come and relax and talk, or not. It’s about having that face-to-face connection. We get to connect with people who otherwise might not contact Cancer Council SA or connect with programs and services.

“It takes a lot of effort for someone to pick up the phone and be quite vulnerable. In my role, I can just walk up to people and say, ‘Hi. Who are you? Why are you here today?’ People often just share their stories and that’s really lovely.”

Polly has a strong affiliation with Flinders, having previously worked as Survivorship Coordinator and Combined Treatment Nurse at Flinders Medical Centre, as well as in radiotherapy.

Polly draws on her clinical background to support patients with referrals, but is also invested in holistic programs and services that might make someone’s experience just that little bit better.

“I describe myself as a clinician through and through, but I’m also well versed in the complementary services that can be a really important part of anyone’s cancer experience,” Polly said.

“If you can get benefit and comfort from a massage, we’ve got different referrals we can make. If people benefit from listening to a harp and it gives them some solace, that’s perfect too. It’s about providing supports, but making them meaningful to whoever wants to engage with you.”

Polly’s support extends to the people who care for patients with cancer. In fact, about half of the people Polly connects with are partners, family members or friends of someone living with cancer.

Polly is also on hand to visit wards and patient areas across Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders Private Hospital to chat with anyone seeking cancer information and support in addition to what might be offered in hospital.

“I get to see a lot of people who are waiting in the Cancer Wellness Centre. Partners are here waiting for their loved ones to attend the breast clinic, to have chemotherapy or attend an appointment upstairs,” Polly said.

“Engaging with people is quite challenging at times. Sometimes they don’t want to share and you leave them be, but we’re also quite good at drawing things out.

“People often wait at the entrance of the Cancer Wellness Centre, and I encourage people to come in further. I let them know there’s a couch where they can rest their head for a few minutes, or that they can charge their phone and sit somewhere nice and quiet to eat their lunch.”

“It really is an amazing space and we want people to feel as though it’s somewhere they can relax and unwind, even just for a short time.”

The Flinders Cancer Wellness Centre extends support beyond treating cancer itself and is provided by the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

The Centre offers patients and their families with holistic support that encompasses all aspects that contribute to a healthier life, so they can thrive, during and after cancer.

Your generosity along with support from the Dry July Foundation and Mix 102.3, created this relaxing and welcoming space and programs to help people living with cancer, thank you.

Sign up for Dry July this year and provide additional support for patients and families through a range of different cancer wellness services and programs.


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