" Specialist nursing and looking after patients at that level always interested me. I feel it is the best of both worlds - I have opportunity to educate and engage with the patients, and equally, to support other staff to look after the patient. "
MAY 2022: BELINDA LAMBROS - NURSE PRACTITIONER, INFECTIOUS DISEASES
I am the nurse practitioner with infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship at Peter Mac. I’m married with three primary school aged children.
I think I always wanted to be a nurse. I recall being a small toddler and playing doctors and nurses. Initially I worked in administration and enjoyed my twenties, before returning to study nursing as a second career.
I completed my undergraduate degree to become a Registered Nurse at Deakin University between the Warrnambool and Burwood campuses. I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel interstate to complete some of my placements.
I was exposed to patients with a cancer diagnosis during the first couple of years of nursing. I loved the way I developed relationships with patients in oncology and being a part of their journey. I decided to continue further studies and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice Critical Care and then went on to complete the Masters subjects, which is where you really start to specialise. I realised that I most enjoyed looking after patients holistically, so tailored my studies to follow my interests. I completed my Masters while taking breaks for babies along the way!
Being a working Mum, I realised that shift work may not be sustainable, so started to look at the opportunities that were around me that would fit in with career aspirations and my family life. Some opportunities arose to fill short term positions as a Nurse Consultant and another with the Department of Cancer Experiences Research as a project officer in geriatric oncology.
There are several pathways a career in nursing can take including management, education, or specialist nursing. Specialist nursing and looking after patients at that level always interested me. I feel that it is the best of both worlds, I have opportunity to educate and engage with the patient and equally, to support other staff to look after the patient.
My role as Nurse Practitioner – Infectious Diseases, Antimicrobial Stewardship in Oncology - is the first of its kind in Australia. The Infectious Diseases team at Peter Mac established the National Centre for Infections in Cancer (NCIC) to allow us to improve patient outcomes through research, surveillance, implementation and refinement of care.
As a member of the ID team, things really ramped up for us during the pandemic. I found communicating with the team about prioritising work and triaging patients really helped. Patient safety was at the forefront of my mind and ensuring that clinical teams have been supported.
" The patients are always at the centre of everything we do. I love working with the multi-disciplinary team in all aspects of my job and think it is essential that communication is prioritised for optimal patient outcomes. "
There have been some silver linings from the pandemic, particularly with regards to a work life balance. The option of being able to do some of my work from home really helped to make a difficult time more manageable. I am grateful for a supportive family who helped me look after the kids when my job got busier. I also ensured I communicated with my work team as well as the kids’ teachers on what we needed as far as support and tried to keep a perspective on priorities as well as a long-term focus. Dealing with remote schooling has definitely increased my respect for teachers!
What gets me out of bed every day is making a patient’s journey that little bit easier. We are fortunate at Peter Mac with a wide variety of specialist nursing roles that provide comprehensive support to our patients.