I am delighted to be co-blogging with Sarah Sample this month! I can’t compare to Sarah’s experience and wisdom, but just like our patients, we all bring something a little different to what we do.
I started off working in the Fraser Valley Centre about 10 years ago and loved the focus on patient centred care and ongoing learning. However, the commute was not good for my own “wellness” and when the chance came to work closer to home, I took it! We talk to patients and families so much about self-care and compassion and like everyone who works so hard here at the BC Cancer Agency, we sometimes forget ourselves.
When I joined the Cancer Agency I was a “newbie” to medical social work, to oncology, and like patients I needed to use “Dr. Google” quite a bit in the beginning. Although the terminology was different from what I was use to, my desire to support others in difficult times found a great place to land here within the Agency’s Patient and Family Counselling Department.
My first experiences of wanting to help came on the farm where I grew up. Tadpoles, horses, cows and kittens all benefited from my desire to help. In fact, I considered becoming a veterinarian until I realized I really didn’t like the sight of blood!
In terms of support, Patient and Family Counselling always tries to provide an “umbrella” of services that recognize patients and families need different supports based on who they are and what contributes to their overall wellness. (You’ll see what I mean by looking at the BC Cancer Agency’s Coping with Cancer site). When we do introduce new supports or changes to programs, we rely a great deal on what our patients and families tell us has worked for them when managing cancer while maintaining quality of life. We need to remember their goal of living meaningfully, not just living.
In my next post, I will share how patients and families have been important mentors in my work and what they have taught me.