Australian & New Zealand Childrens Haematology/Oncology Group


Oncology Nursing Month – Meet Rachel Edwards

Sunday 26 May 2024

As Oncology Nursing Month comes to a close, we chatted with Rachel Edwards, a paediatric oncology research nurse, member of ANZCHOG’s Board of Directors and member of ANZCHOG’s Nursing Committee.

Rachel currently holds two roles; the first being the paediatric oncology nursing subject matter expert for EviQ Education. In this role, Rachel is responsible for writing national paediatric oncology curriculum and developing online learning content. She shares that a key highlight in this role has been the “launch and ANZCHOG endorsement of the Paediatric Anticancer Drug Administration Course”.

Alongside her role at EviQ, Rachel also works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) at Queensland Children’s Hospital. Her research in this role explores the use of patient reported outcome measures in paediatric bone marrow transplant and the education support of nursing staff in managing symptom distress.

When asked how she came to the field of nursing, Rachel says that it was fate!

“I had been auditioning for Music Therapy places and just before the closure date for uni preferences I heard that I hadn’t been successful for one of my auditions and so I hastily scratched that course from my list and replaced it with Nursing. Essentially, I didn’t reshuffle courses according to entrance score and landed myself a place in the Bachelor of Nursing degree at QUT”.

The decision to change her university course at the last minute has resulted in an extensive and fruitful career for Rachel. For the first 13 years of her career, Rachel worked in adult oncology/haematology in both Australia and the UK, before dedicating herself to paediatric oncology/haematology for the last 16 years. In recent years she has seen some exciting advancements in paediatric oncology nursing, which include ‘the integration of electronic chemotherapy prescribing into our administration processes and the integration of the nurse practitioner role into service provision’. She has also seen the rise of nursing and supportive care research and advancements in the role of telehealth in provision of state-wide services for children and families.

When asked about advice she would give to a younger version of herself just starting out in her career, Rachel says …

“Be curious, ask questions, look for the reason behind everything, stay connected to the human in front of you, explore and read, expand yourself and above everything else, prioritise your health and wellbeing.”

Thank you so much Rachel for sharing these fascinating insights into your career and some great advice for those who may just be starting out.

To conclude Oncology Nursing Month, ANZCHOG expresses our utmost gratitude to all paediatric haematology and oncology nurses for their dedication, compassion and expertise in caring for children and adolescents with cancer, and their families.

ANZCHOG is a non-profit organisation committed to ensuring Australian and New Zealand children receive world-class cancer care. We are the peak professional body for paediatric oncologists and health professionals who care for children with cancer, spearheading national initiatives to enhance clinical care through communication, research, networking and education. We are also the national cooperative clinical trials group for childhood cancer, actively working with trial consortia around the globe to ensure Australian and New Zealand children have the opportunity to access the latest promising cancer treatments.