Working Life: Vicki Cleary, liaison nurse

7.30am — 8am
As an oncology liaison nurse for women with gynaecological cancer, my starting time varies. 

Mondays begin with a multidisciplinary team meeting (MDT) at 7.30am. This is the most important meeting of my week, where all new gynae cancer patients are discussed and treatment plans formulated.

On average, 20 patients are discussed and everyone involved in their care is present. This is followed by a weekly chemotherapy meeting where women due in for chemo are discussed.

After that, I deal with emails before visiting in-patients and attending doctors’ ward rounds.

10am

I spend some time mid-morning organising scans and biopsies for patients. I also contact other hospitals that have referred patients to us to make sure we have relevant scan reports and biopsy results and so on before the patient’s first meeting with the consultant.

I carry a mobile phone so patients have constant access and I field all manner of queries from patients looking for test results, queries related to out-patient and scan appointments, concerned family members and GPs. I am usually the first port of call for patients who are unwell at home.

After listening to their symptoms, I advise them on the best course of action. This could mean asking patients to visit their GP, organising for them to be seen by a doctor in CUH or asking the patient to attend the emergency room.

1pm

Lunchtime.

2pm

After lunch, I attend either a medical oncology clinic or a gynaecology clinic where I meet new patients, patients who are on treatment and patients post-treatment.

I’m always with the consultant when women are given their diagnosis, as a source of support for them and their families. I provide information on the type of treatment they will be having (either surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of treatment types).

I also meet patients currently on chemotherapy to make sure they are tolerating it well and I help overcome any treatment-related issues.

My post was originally temporary, funded by the Emer Casey Foundation, a charity set up by the Casey family in memory of 28-year-old Emer who died of ovarian cancer. The HSE has since made the post permanent.

5pm/5.30pm

Hometime. I’m a member of Midleton Athletic Club so a lot of my evenings involve running.

* Vicki Cleary is gynaecology oncology liaison nurse at Cork University Hospital


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