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Annual Cancer Education Workshop Improves Safety in Treatment

By Katherine Mayer, Prevention and Screening Services - May 22, 2019

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Dr. Anthony (Tony) Fields, Chair of the Provincial Advisory Council on Cancer of Alberta Health Services with Dr. Nicole Laferriere, Medical Director and Chief of Oncology for Regional Cancer Care Northwest at our Hospital. Dr. Fields, named one of Alberta’s 100 Physicians of the Century and appointed as Member of the Order of Canada, presented to COPE participants on the topic of ‘Learning from a Tragic Error’.

Over 150 health care professionals who work in cancer related fields attended the annual Community Oncology Professional Education Workshop (COPE) held in Thunder Bay on May 2 and 3, 2019. The event focused on safety in treatment of cancer, highlighting everything from cultural awareness, and malnutrition in cancer, to oncologic emergencies, and concurrent treatments.

David McConnell, Manager of Radiation Therapy for Regional Cancer Care Northwest at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and COPE Committee Co-Chair, explained how this year’s theme shaped the presentations for the event. “The theme for COPE changes year to year as the goal is to provide the latest knowledge in cancer education,” said McConnell. “Since research in the cancer field is ever-growing and changing, we try to bring relevant topics to our staff to support their professional development.”

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Julia Campbell and Jacqueline Hanley, Radiation Therapy students, attended all sessions from COPE 2019 to further their knowledge in providing exceptional cancer care.

“We were thrilled to have 11 adjudicated poster presentations from diverse cancer-related health care professionals at our Hospital,” said Andrea Docherty, Director of Regional Cancer Care Northwest. Karen Melenchuk, Oncofertility Registered Nurse (RN) at the Hospital, and her research team earned the top spot for their research in expanding urgent oncofertility services for reproductive-aged women. “Thanks to the Susan Cameron Endowment Fund, Karen and her team were awarded $500 to further their education.”

Dr. Nicole Laferriere, Medical Director and Chief of Oncology for Regional Cancer Care Northwest shared that continuous education and learning events such COPE are so important in furthering practices and standards. “Local, regional and national Oncology experts delivered excellent presentations. Our Cancer Care staff looks forward to attending COPE annually. They are committed to providing the best possible care to patients in Thunder Bay and across our region.”

COPE has offered regional oncology training since 1993. The workshop caters to many different professions, including oncologists, RNs, radiation therapists, medical radiation technologists, social workers, registered dietitians, administrative staff and booking clerks, who work in prevention, treatment, and palliative care settings, locally and in the region.

For more information on the Regional Cancer Care Northwest at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, visit www. tbrhsc.net/programs-services/regional-cancer-care.

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