12 May 2022
This International Nurses Day (May 12), some of our Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses from across the country shared with us their highlights and motivations in their role, their life motto and what they enjoy doing outside of work. Meet some of our nurses below:
Maya Kaspi | Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA
Started: February 2021
Highlight: Feedback from our patients, when I am reminded how much this support means to them.
Motivation: Being available for patients and their families to contact me for any support. To hold space for these men at a time of such uncertainty – We’ve got you.
Personal motto: “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly, than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection” – Bhagavad Gita. Live your truth, with kindness to self and others.
Hobbies: Yoga! as a student and as a teacher.
Kevin Ancog | Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
Started: November 2020
Highlight: Establishing the Prostate Cancer Care Program at RPA is, so far, the biggest project I have ever been involved in my entire career. When the program launched in March 2021, I have seen its positive impact to the wellbeing of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in our facility, including their partners and families.
Motivation: Seeing the smiles and hearing ‘thank you’ from my patients gives me the mental boost to continue to be better at what I’m doing.
Personal motto: The sky is the limit! I believe anything in life can possibly be achieved with strong determination and faith!
Hobbies: I love camping and bushwalking. It gives me the opportunity to detach from the busy environment, connect with nature, and focus on my personal life.
Jo Hiscock | St Andrews Hospital, Toowoomba Health Service
Started: May 2016
Highlight: Being involved in an educational day on Prostate Cancer for our community, which was very well attended.
Motivation: Seeing the difference it makes in the men and their families in navigating their way through the health service and treatment regime by having a contact person that understands what is next and symptoms that may occur.
Personal motto: Be kind to yourself and others.
Hobbies: Spending time with my family and friends. Gardening and learning from other gardeners.
Serena Morley | Echuca Regional Health, VIC
Started: February 2017
Highlight: Annual PCFA training days and networking with an amazing group of nurses who are supportive and non-judgemental
Motivation: The patients and their families motivate me to provide the highest quality prostate cancer patient centred care I can
Personal motto: Treat others how you want to be treated, be kind and honest
Hobbies: I love spending time with my children and husband, extended family and friends, and playing sport and being a taxi for the kids.
Suzie Sedevic | Central Coast Area Health Gosford Hospital, NSW
Started: May 2018
Highlight: One of my patients to show his appreciation took a photo of one of my favourite scenes in the Blue Mountains, he developed and mounted the picture himself it was such a beautiful thoughtful gesture it made me cry.
Motivation: Knowing that I can help make my patients journey a little easier
Personal motte: One person can make a difference.
Hobbies: Yoga, meditation, being a chicken mum and spending time with my grandkids
Carla D'Amico | Austin Health in Heidelberg, VIC
Started: November 2014
Highlight: Recognition by Governor-General of PCFA's Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service for its significant contribution to quality cancer care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, coinciding with International Nurses Day May 12th, 2021.
Motivation: To reduce the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men and their families by ensuring they have access to appropriate, timely support, compassionate care and education.
Personal motto: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou."
Hobbies: Cooking, gardening, watching Dr WHO, CARLTON FC - go the Blues AND being a new grandmother - the BEST! (Not necessarily in that order).
Russell Reyes | St John of God Murdoch Hospital, WA
Started: April 2018
Highlight: Very strong and supportive connections with the PCSN team and directors in improving the service we provide for our men facing prostate cancer. So far, the best camaraderie and friendship I’ve experienced in a work group throughout my career.
Motivation: Helping men get through this rough patch in their life – unpacking their diagnosis, making them feel empowered in their journey, and letting them know that there are people who truly care and want to lighten their burden
Personal motto: Treat others as how you would want to be treated while in their shoes
Hobbies: I enjoy long drives with the wife and my 6yo daughter, down south to the orchards, visiting caves, and having picnics by the coast.
Gail Tzounos | St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC
Started: November 2020
Highlight: Wow…too many to mention only one but for me the big highlight is seeing a fully operational PCSN role where none existed previously. We are now part of an amazing team who are focused on supporting and caring for our prostate cancer men and their families.
Motivation: When a patient says to me, “You’ve made such a difference”.
Personal motto: Treat everyone as I wish to be treated, and never judge
Hobbies: Family, hiking, gardening, my horses & the beach (not necessarily in that order)
Molly Trethewey | St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC
Started: November 2020
Highlight: It’s really exciting to see the value and benefit of the service to our patients and to the organisations. Another highlight that springs to mind is attending Government House with some of the other PCSN’s not long after starting the role and meeting some of our Victorian counterparts. What a place to meet some of the other PCFA PCSN’s! This was the first time that I truly appreciated what a special nursing group that we are so lucky to be a part of.
Motivation: Definitely the appreciation received by patients and their families – especially those who either have very little or no other support or those with elevated levels of distress. This really drives me to want to do more for these guys.
Personal motto: One that I am still working on is to simply ‘be present in the moment’.
Hobbies: Nature walks with my family, travelling / adventures, and a good old debrief with friends over a glass of wine – and chocolate.
Sharon Adams | GenesisCare, Mandura, WA
Started: July 2021
Highlight: Bins4Blokes – having a bin added on site and all sites in WA
Motivation: Being that support to the men and their families at such a ‘world turned upside’ moment in their lives.
Personal motto: Live for what today has to offer, not what yesterday has taken away.
Hobbies: Walking along the beach with my two dalmatians. Having fun and playing my team sports - hockey and cricket.
Sharon Huett | Launceston General Hospital, TAS
Started: February 2022
Highlight: A patient stating, ‘Thanks for your phone calls, I always look forward to hearing from you - you make a difference’.
Motivation: To make a positive difference in a patient’s cancer journey.
Personal motto: Life is short – smile while you still have teeth.
Hobbies: Travel and walking the dog.
Yasmine Innocenti | Launceston General Hospital, TAS
Started: February 2022
Highlight: A highlight for me since starting the role is to be able to support people who are unsure, worried, and scared of the unknown surrounding their diagnosis and being able to provide them with a little bit of clarity and relief. Letting people know they are not alone, and we are here to support and assist them when they don’t know what to do and they are so thankful and relieved to have our support makes this job amazing.
Motivation: Knowing that I am making a difference in people’s lives, I’m assisting them and making their prostate cancer journey a little less stressful. It motivates me knowing I have helped someone and managed to make them smile, as there can be a lot of emotions surrounding any cancer diagnosis, so knowing I can make that person feel happy even for a couple of minutes motivates me massively.
Personal motto: Something my Nonno (great grandad) Dino always use to say to me, ‘sorridi ogni giorno come se fosse l’ultimo’ (Italian version), which means ‘smile every day as if it were your last’. Being able to make others smile in my role gives me a huge sense of satisfaction.
Hobbies: Walking my dog, hanging out with my partner and his family, our friends and being active.
Nicole Lewis | Goulburn Valley Health Shepparton, VIC
Highlight: The generosity of our local community. My support role is funded by the Biggest Ever Bloke Lunch each year and due to the restrictions of COVID-19, the lunch had to be cancelled for the past two years. Despite not having an event - everyone (who was to attend), left their sponsorship money in! Amazing and I feel very proud!
Motivation: The appreciation our local men and families give us.
Personal motto: One person can make a difference.
Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends
Casey Hospital Monash Health, VIC
Started: April 2020
Highlight: Building strong bond with my patients.
Motivation: A sincere desire to help others.
Personal motto: Together, anything is possible.
Hobbies: Walking and swimming.
Diana Ngo | South Western Sydney Local Health District
Started: December 2017
Highlight: Being in the newspaper!
Motivations: Seeing the difference we make to our men's lives.
Personal motto: Try to live happily every day and in the now - we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.
Hobbies: Spending quality time with family and friends, skiing and snowboarding.