Patients pleased with cancer nurse coordinators

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

9 September 2013

Health Minister Tony Ryall says cancer nurse coordinators are making a real difference to the lives of cancer patients trying to navigate their way through complex tests and treatments.

“Patients tell me they are amazed at how things have changed since these roles were introduced,” says Mr Ryall.

“They feel less stressed, confused and alone because their cancer nurse coordinator is on hand to offer help and support, answer questions and smooth their pathway through different parts of the health system.

“In Budget 2012, we announced $4 million a year to ensure every district health board (DHB) has at least one dedicated nurse to coordinate care and support for individual patients throughout the course of their cancer treatment.

“There are now 53 cancer nurse coordinators working across the country’s 20 DHBs,” says Mr Ryall.

New Plymouth cancer patient Barry Johnstone describes the support he receives from Taranaki DHB cancer nurse coordinator Monique Bastin as “awesome.”

The 70-year-old has had several brushes with cancer over the years and says his experience since the introduction of cancer nurse coordinators contrasts starkly with what happened to him eight years ago.

Barry says, “Back then I felt left in the dark about what was happening to me, and I was left in limbo after treatments wondering what was happening next.

“Now Monique has been right there before and after operations, and has kept in touch and followed up since I’ve been home to see how I’m going. I know I can ring her and she’ll answer my questions. It’s made a tremendous difference to how I feel. It’s been magic.”

Monique Bastin was one of the first cancer nurse coordinators appointed and says her phone runs hot all day taking calls from patients who know they can rely on her for the support and information they need.

She says, “In my previous role as a palliative care nurse, I saw patients being told their cancer diagnosis in a hospital room or outpatient clinic. Then they just waited at home to hear something. This role bridges that gap. Patients know they can call me any time so they don’t feel isolated and alone and it’s making a big difference.”

Monique says in another particularly complex case, a man diagnosed with rectal cancer was subsequently found to have other complicating issues requiring treatment in both Palmerston North and Waikato Hospitals.

“The family was extremely anxious that the other complications could be delaying his rectal cancer treatment, but I was able to answer all their questions and give them clarity, which eased their stress. You can just hear the relief in their voices.”

Media contact: Jackie Maher 021 243 7803 or Jannel Carter 027 589 8884


Last updated: Monday, September 9, 2013

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