A new Nurse Practitioner in Day Therapy | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In OpenHouse News

We’re excited to announce that one of our Day Therapy nurses, Fiona Gillanders, has recently completed her Masters of Nurse Practitioner – the highest qualification in the nursing field.

Fiona has been a transitioning nurse in the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Day Therapy Unit since November last year.

“I went into cancer nursing 12 years ago because I love the combination of intellectual challenge and emotional engagement,” says Fiona. “In Day Therapy, I’m part of a rapid access program to see all the acutely unwell patients that come through here or via clinics. I’m here to answer any questions patients have.”

The opportunity to become a Nurse Practitioner at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse prompted Fiona to leave her job of ten years to join our Day Therapy team.

“I want to be the best nurse I can be. Going through that pathway allows me to be a nurse with the most clinical knowledge and capacity to help people.”

Once endorsed in this new role, Fiona will be able to prescribe medication and order X-rays for patients.

With a hefty study load on top of full-time work, time constraints aren’t the only challenge for Fiona in completing the program. It was the donor-funded Keith Cox Scholarship Program that allowed Fiona to pay for her final semester of study.

“I am so grateful to the supporters of the Keith Cox Fund. I’ve been very blessed – to train as a Nurse Practitioner comes at a significant financial cost, so I was so thankful to receive the scholarship.”

Fiona is excited to transition into this next level of patient care. “The support I’ve received since starting here has been amazing. Clinically, psychologically, emotionally, financially. It’s amazing. I can’t wait for this next chapter.”

At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse specialist nurses are the embodiment of our vision of patient-centred care. Our aim is to place specialist nurses across all cancer streams at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and to invest in the resources and mechanisms that support the nurses’ education, professional development and pathway to the highest level of nursing attainable: the Nurse Practitioner.

Our experience has shown that patients who are under the care of a multidisciplinary team with a specialist nurse have a smoother and superior experience of cancer treatment. The specialist cancer nurse helps each patient navigate the complex world of cancer, connecting all the various specialists, appointments and stages of treatment, while providing highly personalised, expert care.


To support more nurses like Fiona, you can make a donation to the Keith Cox Fund via this newsletter or at donate.mylifehouse.org.au/keith

Pictured above left to right are Professor Michael Boyer AM (chief clinical officer), Fiona Gillanders and Eileen Hannagan (chief executive officer) celebrating Fiona’s completion of Masters of Nurse Practitioner.

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