excellence in Oncology:
our Patients, Our Passion

. :  Archive for March 2012

Oncology Nursing: Trends, Therapies and Transitions

The London Ontario Chapter will be presenting Oncology Nursing: Trends, Therapies and Transitions on Friday, March 30 at the Stoneridge Inn and Conference Centre. This promises to be an enlightening and educational day with a variety of topics and speakers, including updates on non-small cell lung cancer, targeted therapies and what’s new in stem cell transplantation.  We will also be addressing the grief that nurses experience that often goes unacknowledged and unsupported and will share one mother’s journey with her son as he and his family faced acute leukemia. There will be a variety of exhibits by sponsors as well as one by the de Souza Institute. We always have terrific door prizes, including a one-year CANO membership in memory of Wendy Gillis.

Best Western Stoneridge Inn & Conference Centre
6675 Burtwistle Lane (Highway #401 and #4)

For Further Information Contact: Adrienne Fulford 519-685-8500 ext. 55894 Email: Adrienne.fulford@lhsc.on.ca


$75.00 LONIG/CANO Members
$100.00 Non-LONIG/CANO Members
$40.00 Full Time Student
(Proof of status required with registration), Receipts will be available at registration desk.


Assume your registration is accepted unless otherwise notified. SORRY…. NO REGISTRATION AT THE DOOR!

Please make cheque or money order payable to LONIG and sent with completed registration form to:

Pat Stalker
London Regional Cancer Program
Victoria Hospital, Room C7-315
800 Commissioners Road East
London, Ont N6A 5W9

Download the conference brochure and registration form by clicking here.

Toronto Chapter OND Celebration


  • Overview of Sub-Q Velcade: Administration and Management
  • Case-Based Study of a Multiple Myeloma Patient

Speaker: Angela Boudrea, RN, MN, CON(C)

Location: CENTRO Restaurant, 2472 Yonge Street (Yonge & Eglinton)

Register by March 30th.

Free for CANO members. $20 non-member, $10 student.

Register by contacting Charissa.cordon@uhn.ca

Oncology Nursing: Trends, Therapies and Transitions

The London Oncology Nurses’ Interest Group presents Oncology Nursing: Trends, Therapies and Transitions.

Best Western Stoneridge Inn & Conference Centre
6675 Burtwistle Lane (Highway #401 and #4)

For Further Information Contact: Adrienne Fulford 519-685-8500 ext. 55894 Email: Adrienne.fulford@lhsc.on.ca


$75.00 LONIG/CANO Members
$100.00 Non-LONIG/CANO Members
$40.00 Full Time Student
(Proof of status required with registration), Receipts will be available at registration desk.


March 23, 2012

Assume your registration is accepted unless otherwise notified.


Please make cheque or money order payable to LONIG and sent with completed registration form to:

Pat Stalker
London Regional Cancer Program
Victoria Hospital, Room C7-315
800 Commissioners Road East
London, Ont N6A 5W9

Download the conference brochure and registration form by clicking here.

Newfoundland Proclamation Signing

Oncology nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador will be officially welcomed by Premier Dunderdale on March 28th, at her office, for the signing of the OND 2012 proclamation in that province.

Nova Scotia Proclamation Signing

Oncology nurses in Nova Scotia will be officially welcomed by Premier Dexter on March 28th, at his office, for the signing of the OND 2012 proclamation in that province.

Nova Scotia Proclamation Signing

Premier Darrell Dexter officially proclaims April 3rd 2012 as Oncology Nursing Day in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Photo: David Granby)

Premier Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia welcomed oncology nurses from that province to his office on the morning of March 28th, for an official proclamation signing ceremony for the province of Nova Scotia.

At the proclamation signing, Premier Dexter expressed appreciation and gratitude on behalf of residents of Nova Scotia for the significant role played by Nova Scotia’s oncology nurses in delivering effective cancer treatment and care programs.

Attending the ceremony (from left to right in the photo) were Dr. Brenda Sabo (CANO/ACIO President), Kara Henman (CANO/ACIO Nova Scotia Chapter Vice-President), Joan Hamilton, Karen Woodworth, Leslie McLean & Jo-Ann Edwards (CANO/ACIO Nova Scotia Chapter President). A heartfelt congratulations and thanks are offered to our Nova Scotia nurses and Premier Dexter for participating in this very noteworthy event.

City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver has officially declared April 3rd as Oncology Nursing Day! Please click to view the Vancouver Proclamation.


BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre Nursing Integration Committee, with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Oncology Nursing Day proclamation.
(From left to right, the nurses are Janice Dirksen, Arlyn Heywood, Karen Janes, Elizabeth Beddard-Huber, Mary McCullum, Lindsay Schwartz, Debbie Jepson, Michelle Moore, Jennifer Rosychuck, and Candace Davey)

Viviane Amos (Montreal)

Viviane Amos, McGill University Health Centre

I am a Pivot Nurse for patients diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and I have a rewarding and touching story to share. Last fall I met a young man in his late 30s with Stage IV lung cancer who was married with two adolescent children. When he accepted the initial concomitant treatment offered by the lung cancer team, I collaborated with the team to manage his symptoms and side effects. During that time his wife struggled with her interpretation that she would be managing his care for years. I had the challenge to clarify with her that we were facing months, not years. In the meantime her husband began to respond poorly to treatment and required increased home care and support. Eventually he was admitted and kept comfortable with palliative nursing care. He then disclosed to me that he did not wish to live any longer and that he felt ready to let go. This was a most difficult situation for his family who was not ready to hear this but eventually accepted his decision.

As I prepared to say goodbye at his bedside with what I knew would be our last encounter, he whispered in my ear to thank me for how much I helped him and his family. In my role I support many patients and assist them in their transition to end of life care. It is because of patient experiences like this that I see how I can help make a difference in oncology care.

Viviane Amos, RN, B.Sc.N, CHPCN(C)
Montreal, QC
McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital
Pivot Nurse in Oncology Lung Cancer

Helena Akrigg (Vancouver)

Helena Akrigg, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

One rainy day, I was cleaning up my old greeting cards; I came across a thank you card from the daughter of a former client. Tears came to my eyes as I reflected on the story of Lilly.

During the disease trajectory, effective communication, collaboration, and advocacy can impact clients and their families significantly. Initially, Lilly and her family declined community nursing visits as they considered these visits were intrusive. When we established our therapeutic relationship, Lilly’s family was selective in which nurse could visit. To maintain hope, Lilly’s family advocated maintaining active treatment for her journey.

Meanwhile, a great deal of collaboration was needed to support Lilly with symptom management, psychosocial support, and care coordination.  Near the end, Lilly was admitted to a hospice where she spent 2 nights. Lilly’s family preferred to take her home for end of life care without consulting the health care team.

One beautiful summer evening, Amy called my work cell and inquired when the community nurses could visit. We managed to arrange a Shift Care Nurse to provide end of life care at home. Lilly died peacefully at home when her family was reading “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…Psalm 23” to her.

Helena Akrigg, RN BSN CON (C) CHPCN (C) MA (Ed)
Vancouver, BC
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Community Health Nurse, Evergreen Community Health Centre

Nancy Lee Brown (Montreal)

Nancy Lee Brown, McGill University Health Centre

I am a clinical nurse specialist in psychosocial oncology with a memorable inpatient success story. I once overheard a discussion between two colleagues about a 56 year old patient with metastatic disease; they wondered if she should be able to get out on a pass, as she was neutropenic and possibly suicidal. I decided to meet with the patient to do a depression screening and suicide assessment. She appeared relaxed, smiled regularly, and maintained eye contact. She described herself as “happy”, and well supported by family, friends and her religious faith. She stated, “I don’t regret the choices I’ve made. I’ve had a good, life. I’m at peace.” When I asked about suicide she stated, “No one’s hands will take me from this earth but God’s.” When asked about her wishes, she said, “All I want to do is get out of this place, to do something normal”.

I presented my assessment to the doctors, noting that she was neither depressed nor suicidal, and advocated for her to go out on a pass. The doctors agreed to a brief pass, which the patient used to see a hockey game with her brother that night. She was overjoyed to go. The patient died three days later. At her bedside, her grieving brother described the happy moments they were able to share at that hockey game, and his gratitude that it had been possible. This story emphasizes the importance and impact of the nurse’s role in patient assessment and advocacy.

Nancy Lee Brown, RN, MSc(A), CON(C)
Montréal, QC
McGill University Health Centre
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychosocial Oncology Program

Jennifer Fahie (Halifax)

Jennifer Fahie, Capital Health, Halifax NS

When I decided to write this story I took into consideration patients whom I have nursed over the past five years as a bedside nurse. There was the man who, while on a morphine infusion for pain, informed me of all his deepest, darkest secrets – for which I am sworn to secrecy. I vividly recall the women who apologized for crying more while I shaved off her long dark hair than when she received her diagnosis of leukemia. I remember the husband who would sit with us in the nursing station on nightshift, huddle around the teapot and talk about celebrity gossip. I later found out that this was a distraction that enabled him to endure the hard times during his wife’s bone marrow transplant.

Though I have stories I cannot choose one because they are not only mine to tell. They are part of a bigger story – the nurses I work with. These memories stem from the patients and live collectively through nurses. In times of sorrow, laughter, embrace and tears I see the reflection in their eyes. These are the nurses who provide the most palpable care and have taught me everything I know. I realize now my memories cannot stand alone. Every heartache and hope is what keeps all of us whole.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Nurse as both a noun and verb:  As a noun: a person trained to care for the sick; as a verb: to take special care of; to promote well being or development. I personally prefer the latter.

Jennifer Fahie, RN, BScN, CON(C)
Capital Health – 8A/BMT Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Susan Collins (London)

Susan Collins, London Health Sciences Centre

I am a Nurse Practitioner in Hematology/Oncology on an in-patient oncology unit  at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario with a rewarding experience in mentoring.  Over the past 3 years I have worked with and encouraged several staff nurses to submit abstracts to CANO. They have been successful in their efforts and were able to give oral presentations in St. John’s and in Edmonton that were very well received. Their experiences have encouraged them and other staff to join CANO(!) and to participate in our local chapter activities.

I have worked for 12 years as a Nurse Practitioner in Hematology /Oncology in the same setting as above; this experience has been so very rewarding as I am privileged to work with patients and their families over time, to provide continuity and consistency as they move through various stages in their cancer journey. An unfortunate aspect of acute leukemia is that the risk of relapse is high and when this happens, I will work with them once again. I will be familiar to them and they to me and this is invaluable.

Susan Collins
London Health Sciences Centre

Jennifer Knoll (London)

Jennifer Knoll (left) with students.

I am an Oncology nurse with a rewarding educational success story.

The education isn’t mine, but those of my students. I love working Adult Oncology at London Health Sciences Center, Victoria Hospital. But I also have the honour of teaching (in the role of clinical instructor) for the University of Western Ontario in this same clinical unit. There is something valuable and rewarding about teaching on your home unit; being able to share your passion and love for the area of nursing you choose to work in. By being able to show passion for work in Oncology nursing, I can show a whole new generation of students not only what it is to be a nurse, but how truly amazing it is to be an Oncology nurse. When a student remarks that your passion for Oncology nursing has made them consider it as a career, it’s worth it. When you can share that Oncology, though an emotionally hard place to work is also a very rewarding one, it’s worth it. When you can make education exciting, rewarding, and leave a lasting impact on students, it’s worth it.

This isn’t a rewarding educational success story about me, but about those that I teach because I love what I do and I want to share it with others.

Jennifer Knoll, RN, BScn, CON(C)
Adult Oncology
London Health Sciences Center, Victoria Hospital

Lori Butts (Sydney)

The Cape Breton Cancer Center Nursing Team

We are oncology nurses with remarkable oncology unit success stories. At the Cape Breton Cancer Center, we have a team of extraordinary oncology nurses. We use a holistic approach to caring for all of our patients, their families, and for our colleagues. Patients and families who visit our center are not only treated for their illness, they are cared for on a personal and emotional level. Our patients tell us that the caring and support provided by our staff is a source of strength to them and their families. This is evident in the rapport shared by patients, families and staff on a daily basis. Having a diagnosis of cancer is a very difficult time in most people’s lives. The atmosphere in the center is upbeat and positive. Patients and families become comfortable with staff and show appreciation with baked goods and treats, even after treatment or after the passing of a loved one who received treatment. One patient who was coming back for port flushes surprised the nurses one day by decorating himself in battery operated Christmas lights. A couple of patients continue the spirit they witnessed by dressing up as Santa and continue to visit the center. Cancer survivors often return to the center when treatments are completed to give back the care and support they received by volunteering their time. Some provide complementary therapy or participate in workshops and share their inspiring stories to help those going through treatment.

Oncology nurses provide ongoing education and support and work closely with other cancer team members to ensure optimal level of care. Staff members keep abreast of best practices and evidenced based care by attending education sessions and conferences. Our nurses treat the person, not just the illness

Lori Butts, RN
Sydney, NS
Clinical Nurse Educator Cape Breton Cancer Center

Clémence Rheaume (Montreal)

Clémence Rheaume, McGill University Health Centre

My patient, “Mr.D.”, had cancer and was referred to me for symptom control and was followed for 9 months as of March 2011. He was seen at least once each month and would regularly call whenever he had issues around his medications, his symptoms or just to be reassured. This reassurance allowed him to stay home longer and avoid unnecessary emergency visits. I once asked a CLSC nurse to verify his Oxygen saturation and then got oxygen installed at his home. During one visit we discussed the decision to sell his chalet and move to Montreal where he would be closer to his caregiver and his hospital.

During another visit, with his illness progressing, it became clear that we needed to find him a bed on the palliative care unit or in an outside palliative care hospice once necessary. There were unfortunately no beds available, however we sent him to emergency and informed the consultation team on his worsening status. Later on, I checked again the bed status.  One had just opened on the unit, where he could finally be admitted. Finally, his family was able to gather around him, and he passed away that very same day. His family expressed their deepest gratitude for that last, cherished  moment together.

Clémence Rheaume, RN, B.Sc., CHPCN(C)
Montreal, QC
McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital
Pivot Nurse in Palliative Care Day Hospital


Kerry Jensen (Montreal)

Kerry Jensen (top centre) with co-workers

I am a radiation oncology nurse with remarkable oncology nursing colleagues. Each nurse has brought their unique skills and knowledge gained from their previous experiences to the clinic. The team approach is encouraged in our clinic. We promote our strengths and assist each other with our weaknesses. Our goal is to provide good patient care that includes collaborating with all of the team members involved with the patient.

There are more than 200 patients circulating daily in the department where anything can happen. My nursing colleagues are resourceful, professional and make me want to come into work. Our days are varied with many tasks and situations. I feel incredibly supported by my oncology nursing colleagues as they are true team players. They always include and work closely with the patient’s family and friends. We all get involved when there is a complex case to assist with solutions in managing their care.

This is a time where many nurses are experiencing burnout and poor job satisfaction. I can honestly say I love my job and look forward to showing up to work. We laugh together we cry together, we remain together.

On a daily basis I meet incredible courageous patients that are battling cancer. They have so much to teach us if we just take some time to listen. I have the pleasure to work with a wonderful team that encourages these opportunities.

Kerry Jensen, RN, BSc,
Montreal, QC
McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital
Radiation Oncology Nurse Clinician


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