Trudi is thankful for Oncology opportunity

Before Trudi Dunmore went on maternity leave in 2021, she was working for Stawell Regional Health in the height of the COVID pandemic as the Director of Clinical and Residential Services.

She returned a year later to the new Grampians Health and took on the role as the Oncology Unit Nurse Unit Manager. 

Trudi said maternity leave was a big change to her lifestyle. 

“That time gave me a chance to think about what I wanted to do with my career and I guess I began to reassess why I became a nurse in the first place,” Trudi said. 

Trudi said she was born at the Stawell hospital and her extended family still lived in the area so she was always committed to ensuring good services were available for the Stawell community. 

“I knew I wanted to go back to being more clinical so I could make a difference at the ground level of nursing. 

“The oncology manager role came up and it was just perfect for me and perfect timing.” 

Trudi said she loved working in oncology. 

“I love working so closely with the patients,” she said. 

“I get to spend a lot of time with them because they can be having treatment for months on end and we might see them on a weekly basis. 

“They come in and sit with us for a while we get to know them and I really love that. I feel I can make a difference here and I find so much more joy in this work than I did in my director role. 

“Grampians Health created my role to help rebuild the service after an unforeseen closure. 

“We’ve had massive support to get back up and running regionally, we have such a caring and compassionate staff base here, all local nurses. The team are amazing and we are now back to our pre-COVID best. 

“Our clinical services plan has a lot of exciting growth set up for Oncology here in Stawell. We are going to be bringing a lot more local cancer patients back home for treatment.” 

Trudi says that many cancer patients from Stawell still need to travel to Horsham, Ballarat and Melbourne for treatment but Grampians Health’s clinical services plan is aiming to provide that treatment close to home. 

Grampians Health Stawell’s unit had visiting haematologists and oncologists and is currently also operating as a medical day unit, providing the community with local services such as iron infusions, blood transfusions and other infusions for chronic conditions. 

“We’ve been able to rebuild our relationships with our medical team and we’ve got them all back visiting again which is really exciting. This year is looking really busy,” said Trudi. 

Medical oncologist Dr Lee Na Teo visits every Tuesday and is now bringing a second oncologist with her. We have radiation oncologist Dr Louise Gorman and Dr John Sycamnias visiting fortnightly. 

“We also still have Professor George Kannourakis and Dr Prashanth Prithviraj seeing and treating patients here as well and of course we have local GP’s referring patients for medical infusions as well. 

“We are also really excited to have our pharmacist Zoe back. We trialled a satellite pharmacy service that proved so successful that it’s also being rolled out elsewhere. 

“Pharmacists are such an important part of our team given the high-risk drugs that we use and having a great pharmacist ensures that our patients are safe”. 

Trudi couldn’t hide the pride she felt for what had been achieved in a short space of time. 

“I’m really proud of how far we’ve come and I’m really proud that we can bring our patients home again now,” she said. 

“They’re not spending hours in the car and then hours in a treatment chair and more hours coming home. 

“They’re already struggling enough with fitting all the extra appointments in because they’ve got scans, blood tests, GP, oncology and treatment appointments and it’s all so overwhelming. 

“So, anything we can do to make it easier for them is what we are here for.”