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  • New specialist cancer nursing education program becomes available

    Author: Charlotte Mitchell

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has launched its Cancer Nursing Discovery Program, supporting registered nurses to become specialised cancer nurses.

Candidates will join a passionate team at the world-class teaching hospital, supported by leading Australian cancer nurse educators and expert clinicians.

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Nurses recruited to the specialised training program will complete up to three rotations in Peter Mac’s Haematology, Medical Oncology wards and Chemotherapy Day Unit.

Dynamic, clinically-based education will be supported by expert theoretical teaching in the essentials of anti-cancer therapy – chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapies.

Candidates will be equipped to care for people with some of the most complex cancers, strengthening acute care, communication, and patient-centred care skills that are transferrable across a wide range of settings. There will be opportunity for ongoing employment upon completion of the 12-18 month program.


Associate Director of Nursing (Haematology & Medical Oncology) Yvonne Panek-Hudson said the rotational training program was an exciting opportunity for nurses who wanted to discover more about cancer nursing and advance their careers.

“Cancer nursing is a rewarding career that can take you in many directions. The opportunity for knowledge and clinical development is endless and can be applied in acute care, survivorship care and palliative care”

”Working closely with patients, their carers, and other health care providers to improve the patient’s experience is at the core of cancer nursing.”

Director of Peter Mac’s Academic Nursing Unit Professor Mei Krishnasamy said a bespoke program of training had been created for the Cancer Nursing Discovery Program.

“At Peter Mac, our nurses have incomparable opportunity to learn and refine their skills,” she said. “As they advance their knowledge and experience, the door is open to specialist roles across clinical, educational, managerial, and research specialties”.

Peter Mac is Australia’s only public health service dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer.

Retired bowel cancer nurse, Deb Schmidt, welcomed the news, telling HealthTimes, that there was always a need for more specialist cancer training for Australia’s nursing workforce.

“We have a proud history of clinical excellence when it comes to cancer care in Australia, but that takes work.”

“We need to keep up that focus on translational research – from bench to bedside – and making sure that the latest knowledge and developments are making it to our patients as quickly as possible.”

“Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way. It is across our community, and its impact runs so deep.”

“Being able to provide patients and their families with specialist care and support is invaluable", she said.

“During my career, I felt I made a difference. And that’s all any of us can ask for in a job, right?”

“The clinical aspect of it was always something I enjoyed too. Clinically, it’s a very interesting space and there’s a lot going on.”

Ms Schmidt encouraged nurses to consider a career in cancer nursing, and to reach out to their networks to learn more.

“The best advice I can give is to speak to someone already working in the field. Understand what is involved and what to expect.”

“But honestly, it is so rewarding and you won’t regret it.”


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Charlotte Mitchell

Charlotte is a published journalist and editor, with 10 years of experience in developing high-quality content for national and international publications.

With an academic background in both science and communications, she specialises in medical and science writing. Charlotte is passionate about creating engaging, evidence-based content that equips the community with important information on issues around healthcare, medicine and research.

Over the years, she has partnered with organisations including the Medical Journal of Australia, Cancer Council NSW, Bupa, the Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Dementia Australia, MDA National, pharmaceutical companies, and state and federal government agencies, to produce high-impact news and clinical content  for different audiences.