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Breast care support nurses/ McGrath breast nurses - Do they follow through?

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  • MicheleRMicheleR South AustraliaMember Posts: 341
    I contacted the McGrath foundation nurse myself when I was in hospital for febrile neutropenia. I didn't have one at that point. She came to visit and has rang me a few times. I was at a very low point. My impression is they are overwhelmed by the need and sometimes you need to reach out rather than waiting for them. 
  • AbbydogAbbydog Adelaide, South AustraliaMember Posts: 305
    I did reach out. She was talking to me on the telephone and working in Outpatients at the same time. Her other work was interrupting the flow of our conversation. I did not feel any connection with her. There was no follow up. 
  • RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 2,091
    @Abbydog I too did not feel any connection to mine. I think being a McGrath nurse may have some prestige attached and may not always attract the right people for a very fragile population.
  • RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 2,091
    @Abbydog although it’s probably true resources are stretched
  • Beryl C.Beryl C. Member Posts: 270
    I was diagnosed with Metastatic BC nine years ago and in that time have had five recurrences - the most recent diagnosed about a month ago, I have never had anything to do with a McGrath nurse until this recent episode. I have a couple of other health issues which need attention and I became stressed and overwhelmed with appointments. I was anxious for a diagnosis and wanted to move an appointment closer and not wait six weeks. I phoned the Breast Care Centre and was connected to the McGrath nurse. (First time this had been suggested in nine years and it had never occurred to me). She was 'amazing'  - very caring without being condescending in any way - she phoned a few hours later with a new appt day and time. Her attention made all the difference to my emotional/mental state. She phoned the next day just to ask after my well being. The only word to describe my experience is 'fantastic!.
  • AbbydogAbbydog Adelaide, South AustraliaMember Posts: 305
    I'm so sorry to hear that you have had so many reccurrences. 
    Was first diagnosis Metastatic?
    These Mc Grath nurses seem to be very hit and miss. 
    It's not like you imagine from TV.
    I'm sure there needs to be more funding for more nurses.
    But after contacting one in my area, I definitely felt fobbed off.
    I'm very happy that you could be helped, when you really needed it.
    I wish you all the best, with your planned and future treatments.

  • LoisLoisLoisLois Member Posts: 43
    I was diagnosed in February with Stage 3. From my first appointment with the Surgical Team, my BCN has been there. She has been a tremendous support via phone, email and personal contact. Every single meeting she is present whether it is the chemo Oncologist, Chemo Sessions, Surgical, Wound Clinic.  As I also have Lupus, I am her first patient to do so - I asked her to check with any other BCN to see if they had patients who could advise me to any repercussions they might have experience. She told me there is only if I remember rightly just over 110+ BCN throughout Australia and unfortunately non had any with Lupus but it gave me an insight to how far stretched these women are. 
    I can only advocate for my wonderful Nurse Sharon - who seriously has been a blessing.  
    Maybe WE need to advocate for them with a petition to the Government to fund more Nurses through ALL of Australia whether rural, regional or city....Maybe WE should stand up for these hard working Nurses and show our solidarity!!!
    Lois. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,883
    It’s interesting how varied people’s experiences are. I confess I have no idea how any allocation of breast care nurses works. However given limited numbers surely, as far as possible, breast care nurses should be allocated to those with greatest need? I certainly didn’t need a nurse at each appointment or consultation, whereas someone with a prior condition, or isolated or undersupported, would have found that assistance really helpful. 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,025
    It's interesting to read the varying experiences.  I was a patient in the private system and my Breast Surgeon has two breast care nurses on staff. I was introduced to them when I entered hospital for the Sentinel node biopsy and Mastectomy.  They were freely available to me during my hospital stay and would visit during the day and always there with the Breast surgeon as he did his rounds.  
    They provided the bra, cushions, booklets and introduced me to BCNA. 
    They checked on me once I was home and encouraged me to make contact if I had any concerns.
    As time went on I had to visit a Gynaecology Oncologist and Angela came and sat with me prior to going into surgery. 
    I had 5 hospital stays in a 12 month period.  Service exemplary!
    I can't fault their service.  Last year as the breast implant saga became an issue I rang in and the Breast care nurses, once again, extremely helpful. 


  • ddonddon Member Posts: 348
    I have been through the private system also and have had two BCN’s who have been a wonderful support. They haven’t come to any of my appointments with specialists but spent time with me with most chemo sessions, every day visit in hospital, phone calls and emails to check on me during the year. I have been very thankful for them. 
  • MicheleRMicheleR South AustraliaMember Posts: 341
    I am a private patient and my surgeon has breast care nurses and they were helpful in that first month where I was being tested and had a mastectomy. I have since moved on to chemo and there is a gap in seeing my surgeon or them. When I had to go to public hospital emergency I called on McGrath. For me this was crisis support. The hospital also sent a social worker. The McGrath nurse has contacted me since I was discharged and followed up a few things. I suppose as I was at a low point they were concerned about my mental health briefly. I dont need much but many of the breast cancer patients currently doing chemo at my private hospital are much older than me. I guess it can be a bit lonely. Im looking at other services now and would ask either my breast surgeons nurse or public McGrath nurse for referrals or suggestions.  
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