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DHB Appoints Dedicated Nurses to Support Cancer Patients

Waikato DHB Appoints Dedicated Nurses to Support Cancer Patients

Waikato cancer patients can look forward to a better support system following the appointment of four registered nurse coordinators and one clinical nurse specialist within Waikato District Health Board (DHB).

The new positions are part of the Government’s $4 million-a-year programme to give cancer patients in every district health board specialist support and coordinated care.

The nurses are dedicated to guiding these patients through treatment and follow up. They act as single point of contact from referral as high suspicion of cancer, through the diagnosis, and into treatment.

The role means cancer patients and their families no longer have to deal with multiple people from different parts of the health service.

The four registered nurse coordinators specialise in a specific type, or types, of cancer. These are Myeloma and Lymphoma, Melanoma and Neurology , Upper Gastrointestinal Tract, and ‘Non Specific Tumour Stream’ cancers.

"Patients with suspected cancer are already frightened. It is our job to walk alongside them at this terrifying time and give them peace of mind when trying to navigate through the hospital system,” newly appointed registered nurse coordinator Emily Balme said.

Registered nurse coordinator Shelley Cavanagh sees her role the patients’ advocate.

“I act as the link for informed information, supporting and guiding their cancer journey so it progresses in a smooth and timely manner,” she said.

Clinical nurse specialist Mary-Ann Hamilton focuses on ensuring timely access to health and supportive care services and improving how people move into and through the cancer service pathway to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.

“This may be with an individual, whanau and community or improving systems, influencing policy and advocating at a strategic level,” she said.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has welcomed these nurses and congratulated them on the work they have already begun to provide more personalised service for patients.

“I’m really enthusiastic about these cancer nurse coordinators. Their support can make a big difference for patients and their families.”

Fifty new nurses have been appointed in total across New Zealand.
They are setting up national and regional networks and links to provide coordinated support and advocacy for cancer patients.


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