Rachel Oxford, Queeensland's first dedicated Prostate Cancer Support Nurse
Hot on the heels of establishing a world-leading robotics program, The Wesley Hospital created the first dedicated Prostate Cancer Support Nurse (PCSN) role in Queensland in June 2011. Since then, Prostate Cancer Support Nurse Rachel Oxford has seen over 5400 men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Rachel said the major driver for her role is to empower patients.
“For many men, a prostate cancer diagnosis may be their first significant health event. With the vast majority of men being asymptomatic, undergoing an operation with potential morbidity can be daunting.
“Having the Prostate Cancer Support Nurse to walk alongside them, setting expectations and providing advice on everything from analgesia, bowel management and activity to continence aids, continence and penile rehabilitation allows men to take charge of their care in a safe and informed manner.”
Rachel is in contact with her patients and their family prior to admission, during the surgical admission, and at catheter removal for formal and informal education and support.
Helping to coordinate the admission process and provide clarity from the first point of contact has anecdotally proven to be one of the most valued aspects of the relationship.
During the treatment and recovery journey, Rachel is the first port of call for patients who have questions, clinical concerns or emotional support needs. Working closely with the Urologists, clinical concerns are triaged and escalated quickly, as required.
While the majority of prostate cancer patients undergo Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy, Rachel also sees men having High and Low Dose Brachytherapy, open prostatectomy and NanoKnife as well as other treatments and investigations.
The physical and psychological impacts of prostate cancer are well documented, and the Prostate Cancer Support Nurse works with an extensive network of continence physiotherapists, as well as psychologists and Men’s Health GPs.
Normalising the emotional impact of diagnosis and treatment, and referring patients appropriately, enables patients to consider mental health as part of their ongoing recovery to avoid or minimise depression and anxiety.