The Art of Specialist Care

28 Sep 2023

My role at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is to support patients and their families with lung cancer.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming; there is a lot to process and many treatment types and situations.

As a nurse, I am privileged to be in a position where I can help patients to navigate their uncomfortable feelings and support them throughout their treatment plans.

My name is Amy O’Donnell; I am one of the Lung Cancer Nurse Specialists, at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

I’ve been at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse since the very beginning. I started in Day Therapy and have also worked in Clinical Trials, casually on the wards, in ICU and Clinic C.

It’s important to me to maintain a calming presence. I can come across as quite laid back; I might

be horizontal if I wasn’t standing up. I’ve had a patient’s family member say to me, “Oh, once you started talking, I almost fell asleep.”, which I take as a compliment as it means I have done my job of helping them to feel comfortable and relaxed.

People come to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse knowing they’ve got cancer but are unsure exactly what that means and what that will look like regarding
prognosis or treatment. For some, they might have treatment and then stop and need surveillance, or they may need treatment for the rest of their lives.

Whatever the circumstance, I am a central source of support and information for my patients and their families.

There are many decisions you have to make throughout a cancer journey; having a Specialty Care Nurse can help patients feel supported and empowered so they can make an informed decision based on their beliefs.

Unfortunately, patients sometimes feel pressured to do something to please someone they love.

“Empowerment is so important for patients throughout the whole cancer journey.

I don’t have an agenda when I speak to patients. I want to know about the patient and what their worries are.”

Being a part of the patient’s journey from start to finish is something I genuinely enjoy. It’s gratifying getting to know people and their families and being able to support them in a meaningful way.

My position is funded by our amazing donor community. Thanks to their support I can make a real difference in the lives of many patients. Thank you to each and every person who donates, you make a significant impact as our patients navigate their confronting and sometimes overwhelming diagnosis and the challenges that follow.

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