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Ingham telechemo duo take out nursing award

Published:  20 May 2021

Ingham Health Service’s teleoncology double act, clinical nurses Shelley Baker and Julie Agazzani, were recognised at the Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s 2021 Nursing and Midwifery Awards for their commitment to keeping rural patients with cancer, closer to their homes and support networks.

The Ingham Teleoncology Service is a two-person team of fully trained clinical nurses who administer cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and port flushes every Thursday, along with additional appointments for clients as needed.

Shelley, who has been caring for patients under the program since it began in 2012, said the service had grown significantly since its inception.

“When we first kicked off the program we had two clients, and last year I think we provided around 130 episodes of care, so it’s definitely grown over the past nine years,” she said.

“We get a variety of people accessing care; there are a lot of travellers who might need to just come in for a port flush, and there are regulars who come in every week for their chemotherapy.

“As a satellite service we are also always communicating with the doctors in Townsville, and if we ever have a question they are only ever a phone call away; it works really well.”

Julie said being able to access care in the community helped keep patients close to their support networks.

“It saves a lot of people a lot of travel, and being a smaller service we are able to do a lot of follow up and case management,” she said.

“Our clients are wonderful and because of the community aspect we often get to know them quite well.

“When they come for their treatment they get to catch up with other people in a similar situation; we’ve had some really good fishing conversations and grandma stories, and they in themselves become their own little support system because they are seeing the same people each week.

“It’s a very rewarding unit to work in.”

The pair also gave a shoutout to colleague Jeanette Masters.

“Jeanette has worked alongside Julie and myself for a number of years providing holiday relief to the team,” Shelley said.

“This award definitely belongs to Jeanette just as much as to us.”

Executive director nursing and midwifery Judy Morton said rural nurses were especially passionate about their jobs.

“One of the things you really see in our rural health services is that sense of community,” Ms Morton said.

“I’ve seen our rural nurses get past unbelievable barriers just to get to work during a natural disaster; their resilience is inspiring, and they are always ready to step up for their community.

“I am so proud of each and every single one of our nurses and midwives, and I want to thank each them for their compassion, care and commitment to keeping our community healthy.”

The annual Nursing and Midwifery awards are held in the week between International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day, both of which are celebrated worldwide.

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