Cork nurse speaks of 'special job' caring for children with cancer

Cork nurse speaks of 'special job' caring for children with cancer

Pictured is Noreen Crowley sitting with her colleagues from St Anne’s Ward and St Bernadette’s Ward/Children’s Leukemia Unit.

A Cork-based children’s cancer nurse has spoken of the “special job” she has had during the pandemic in caring for sick children.

Clinical Nurse Manager at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) Noreen Crowley, who is member of the team in the Children's Leukemia Unit, spoke about what it means to be a children’s cancer nurse, marking International Childhood Cancer Day this week.

"Being a children’s cancer nurse is a very special job. We have the privilege of meeting these families at a time in their lives when things are falling apart. 

"Like flicking a switch everything changes in a moment when they are given a cancer diagnosis,” she said.

Noreen Crowley, nurse manager in the children's ward and leukaemia unit with staff nurse Evelyn Keane. Pic; Larry Cummins.
Noreen Crowley, nurse manager in the children's ward and leukaemia unit with staff nurse Evelyn Keane. Pic; Larry Cummins.

She said that children’s cancer nurses are there to support parents and children when “they are at their most vulnerable” so that they can move forward through their treatment.

“The treatments we deliver are crucial but it is only a part of the job. 

The children we look after are just spectacular, each a unique character with plenty of personality so we try to adapt to their preferences as much as possible.

Ms Crowley said that the biggest reward experienced by nurses in a day is seeing their patients smile and that the Mercy does its utmost to make the Leukemia Unit feel like a home away from home when children have to stay for a period of time.

Every year some children enter our service while others leave. It is like getting on a bus, we welcome the new families on and we wave the families that have completed treatment off.

“A child diagnosed with leukemia can go through treatment for up to three and a half years so we become a familiar face and we want them to look forward to visiting us for routine treatments,” she said.

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