Kim Wright, 53, has been a McGrath Breast Care Nurse for 10 years and is based at Sutherland Hospital in Sydney.
When Kim Wright finished her nursing training in New Zealand, she discovered there were limited jobs so she hopped across to Australia in 1989 and has been working here ever since.
“I started on a medical oncology ward and at the end of the ward was the oncology clinic, so that was my introduction to it. They’d started rotating us through the oncology clinic to upskill us and I can recall saying to my nursing unit manager at the time that we were seeing more women with breast cancer and I wanted to increase my knowledge of it,” Kim says.
“I did oncology graduate courses and they sent me to the (nearby) McGrath Breast Care Nurses at St George Hospital to learn more about it. From there, the position was created at Sutherland so we could help more patients.
“It’s important that these women have extra support because going through multiple surgeries and having chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy meant they had questions and needs that weren’t being addressed at the time. There were limited services at Sutherland, we had the oncology unit but no breast care nurse service.”
Being a McGrath Breast Care Nurse is a varied role which gives Kim a number of opportunities to help patients.
“You meet lots of people and they are always very appreciative of the support we provide for them. It feels good to be able to guide people through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, it can be a very scary time because it’s the unknown. They don’t know how they are going to feel or what will happen. The medical system can be daunting so being available to facilitate appointments, educate, provide emotional support and answer questions is important in helping my patients,” she says.
“I enjoy working with my patients, getting to know them over a period of time has kept me very much interested in the job and motivated to keep on learning so that I can provide the best care for them.”
“It’s not a static thing, it’s an area where there is always something happening, there’s more research being done and we are improving our knowledge of breast cancer and how to treat it.”
When it comes to breast cancer, there is always more to learn.
“It’s not a static thing, it’s an area where there is always something happening, there’s more research being done and we are improving our knowledge of breast cancer and how to treat it,” Kim says.
“It’s changing as time has gone by, looking back at what we had available as treatments a few years ago, you can see such a progression of what treatments we can offer patients.
“Breast cancer is spoken about more freely in the community these days, women are more empowered to take control of their health, they’re more comfortable asking questions and want to know what’s available in terms of best possible treatments for them. I definitely think the McGrath Foundation has had a big role in that.”