Last month, we welcomed Leona Djajadi into the role as Clinical Nurse Specialist for pain.
This brand-new role is a major advancement in our ability to provide fast assistance and relief for patients with pain relating to their cancer or treatment.
Leona comes to us with a postgraduate Diploma in Anaesthetic & Recovery and a wealth of experience in acute pain management. On top of this, Leona brings to the role a genuine love of caring for people.
“I fell in love with nursing on my first prac,” says Leona. “It’s the difference you can make in someone’s life. Even if you’re just giving a sponge bath – it might be the only time in the whole day someone touched that person and actually cared for them. You might give someone the human contact they need for the day. With nursing, you make a real difference to people’s lives by doing the smallest things.”
In her new role, Leona relays her patients’ pain journey to the specialist on duty that day, and ensures patients’ safety, comfort and consistency of care through nurse education.
“This means we can start using new equipment with analgesia with full confidence that it will be well-managed in the ward,” says Leona. “we can also be more agile in adopting new systems of pain management, because I can co-ordinate and facilitate the training hospital-wide.”
In the three weeks Leona has been in this role, she’s already established a vital service – an outpatient clinic for people requiring support for sub-acute pain. The outpatient clinic is one of the most satisfying achievements of her role to date.
“Patients are so grateful for this service,” says Leona. “In the past, if the patient wasn’t in a palliative care situation, they would have to go to their own specialist and be put on a waiting list. And while they wait, often for weeks, they’re in pain. Now, they can get it sorted here, and almost immediately. There is no waiting list. It becomes a real one-stop shop for patients.”
“The ongoing, trusting relationships I can build with my patients is also really beneficial. If the patients trusts me to take care of their pain, they are more positive about their treatment which really sets them up for success.”
Leona is excited by the possibility of widening the scope of treatments available to patients.
“We have the potential to explore so many different types of interventional pain management that we don’t currently do, such as radiofrequency or permanent and temporary nerve blocks.”
“Right now, patients go elsewhere for these kinds of treatments. Having them available here means they can have them done at the same time as another procedure. It would streamline the whole process of care for the patient— the same team, in the same place.
“It’s going to get better and better. I’m so excited by the prospect of what we can give to our patients in the future.”