My clinical experience, clinical skills and management experience has been with a variety of patient groups who have a cancer diagnosis:
- Head, Neck and Thyroid Cancers (current position)
- Gynaecological Oncology
- Haemato-oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation
- Urology, Sarcoma, Melanoma and Breast Cancers
I have supported patients requiring various treatment modalities for cancer for over 20 years. Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endocrine therapy and biological therapies directly impact on oral health and many of these treatments cause oral damage that may be acute and possibly lead to chronic problems.
My main areas of patient focus within my current role as a clinical nurse specialist in Head, Neck and Thyroid Cancer is supporting the patient through their treatment and to help them manage the side effects that are caused by the treatment. The main side effect that has a profound effect on any person having treatment for a head and neck cancer is Oral Mucositis, the pain associated with Oral Mucositis as well as the impact mucosal damage has on nutrition, swallowing, speech and verbal communication. Patients also get other side effects from their treatment and these vary in severity. Unlike chemotherapy induced Oral Mucositis, radiotherapy induced Oral Mucositis can be protracted for many weeks sometimes months after patients have completed treatment. Oral Mucositis not only affects the individual having treatment but their families and friends.
My specialist role also involves teaching at undergraduate, graduate and post graduate level. I am also involved in Educational Programme's as an associate Lecturer at the School of Cancer Nursing at the RMH and I participate in Nursing Research and Auditing to improve patient care.
Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning,
Post Graduate Certificate in Managing Health Services
Bachelor Science (Hons) in Cancer Care,
ENB 934, ENB 998, ENB 217
Diploma of Comprehensive Nursing
“An area which we also focus on is post-treatment Oral Mucositis and Radiotherapy induced Xerostomia which hinders individuals to re-engage socially, is known to cause psycho-sexual issues, impacts on an individuals perception of self and their body image. Oral Mucositis is also a major contributor to the fatigue experiences once treatment has been completed.” | Sonja Hoy