Client Services - Manager
We checked in with Samantha Palmer, Cancer Council ACT’s Prevention Services Team Leader on International Nurses Day to find out what she does at Cancer Council ACT and her experience being a nurse!
What is your role at Cancer Council ACT?
“I am responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the Cancer Services team as well as the development and promotion of cancer-related services to the ACT region. Working with the Cancer Services team, I engage with regional medical and allied health professionals, clients, other staff, volunteers, and community members to improve community awareness of current supports and services; as well as investigate and implement new priorities wherever possible.”
How long have you been a nurse and what experience do you have?
“I have been a nurse for 12 years. After completing my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Kennesaw State University, I joined the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, which provided me with a variety of different experiences all around the world, including my initial training as a chemotherapy nurse. Shortly after completing my Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati, I moved to Canberra where I worked as a chemotherapy and radiation nurse until accepting my role at Cancer Council ACT.”
What did you find most fulfilling about being a nurse?
“I love building relationships with my patients and their families. Particularly with cancer patients because a diagnosis of cancer often requires quick decisions regarding surgery and chemotherapy treatment which can often be overwhelming. Helping these patients to feel comfortable, safe, and supported during their journey is the most fulfilling.”
Do you have any advice for other people looking to become a nurse?
“If you are unsure if nursing is for you, reach out to your local hospitals and request to shadow a nurse for a few days. I would recommend shadowing nurses in different wards as well to provide you with the most experience. You’ll find that no two days are the same. Volunteering at hospitals will also provide you with opportunities to work with nurses and patients, so that you can get a feel if it’s the right path for you.”
How do you and The Prevention Services Team at Cancer Council ACT help the community?
The Prevention Services Team at Cancer Council ACT helps the Canberra community in several ways.
"We can assist by answering many questions or concerns that may arise before or after a cancer diagnosis; this includes linking people to relevant services within the ACT area. By calling 13 11 20, specially trained staff can answer questions about all aspects of cancer, including prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship. Cancer Council ACT also runs free education programs, forums and seminars on a variety of topics (including legal and financial matters), as well as provides a range of free cancer information booklets for those affected by cancer. We can also provide emotional support by linking individuals to several support groups.
You may see us out in the community promoting our SunSmart program which aims at reducing the human cost of skin cancer in the ACT. CCACT engages with local schools, workplaces, community, health professionals, local government and sporting clubs to promote sun-protective behaviours and to reinforce positive social norms around tanning and sun protection.
CCACT also offers comprehensive training on smoking cessation to increase the capacity of health and education professionals to assist clients to quit smoking. Our smoking cessation coordinator can provide individual or group sessions for those seeking advice in the process of quitting.”
Thank you, Sam for sharing your experience. And, to all the nurses in our community, Happy International Nurses Day, we are very grateful to you all!