Frequently Asked Questions

What is a McGrath Breast Care Nurse?

McGrath Breast Care Nurses are registered nurses specially trained to manage the care of breast cancer patients throughout the course of their treatment. They are the principal liaison between the patient and the specialists who coordinate their treatment - whether it be surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

McGrath Breast Care Nurses also play an important advocacy role as well as helping to clarify technical or complicated information that the patient may not understand.

Most importantly, McGrath Breast Care Nurses offer vital emotional support to the patient as well as being a friend for the patient and their families during what can be extremely difficult times.

How do we get a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in our Region?

The McGrath Foundation provides funding for McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia. Each McGrath Breast Care Nurse is funded for a minimum of three years.

We work closely with all state and territory health departments, as well as nominated area health services, to determine areas of need and locations for additional McGrath Breast Care Nurses.

Each application will be considered on its merits, and please consider the basic criteria before developing an application for funding:

- Funding is only available for the employment of specialist breast care nurses
- Top-up funding for existing positions is not generally available
- All locations will be considered based on the need and priority of that need

A proposal can be submitted at any time. Apart from exceptional circumstances all proposals will be reviewed semi-annually and all applications will remain active for each review process. Click HERE to apply for a nurse in your region.

How does the involvement of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse improve the care of a patient?

The support of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse can substantially improve a patient’s quality of care because they have one main source of information and contact throughout their treatment plan.

Continuous support from a McGrath Breast Care Nurse can greatly minimise the stress and trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis for the patient and their family.

What training do McGrath Breast Care Nurses have?

McGrath Breast Care Nurses are highly-qualified nurses who add much value to the coordination of care, support, guidance and advice to families experiencing breast cancer.

McGrath Breast Care Nurses usually have a background in oncology, breast care or women’s health and sometimes even psychology. They will also usually have post-graduate qualifications in breast care nursing.

At what stage of the diagnosis does a McGrath Breast Care Nurse become involved?

A McGrath Breast Care Nurse may come into contact with a family experiencing breast cancer at any point from diagnosis, right through to treatment and into survivorship. If you, or someone you love, has not been referred to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in your area, you may make contact directly.

Does everyone diagnosed with breast cancer have access to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse?

The McGrath Foundation strives to achieve Jane’s vision for every family experiencing breast cancer across Australia to have access to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.

While this is not currently the case, the McGrath Foundation is committed to continuing to work towards achieving these outcomes.

How can I find out if there is a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in my area?

Click here to find a McGrath Breast Care Nurse near you and to find out where they are currently placed.

How to become a McGrath Breast Care Nurse

McGrath Breast Care Nurses are health professionals who are specially trained to manage the care of breast cancer patients throughout the course of their treatment. A McGrath Breast Care Nurse usually has a background in oncology, breast care or women's health.

To become a McGrath Breast Care Nurse, you need to:

  • Be a Registered Nurse
  • Have at least five years post-registration experience in either surgical or medical oncology
  • Ideally have at least three years experience as a breast care nurse (or related discipline)
  • Have relevant post graduate qualifications in breast care nursing or cancer nursing

In addition, all McGrath Breast Care Nurses have a genuine desire to make a difference and support Australian families undergoing a breast cancer experience by providing them with physical and emotional support from diagnosis and right through treatment.

For more information on post graduate qualifications click here.

To find out what McGrath Breast Care Nurse positions are currently available in your area, click here.