My first job after graduation in 1992 was in the oncology ward of Ulleval University Hospital, and there I stayed employed until 2004 after I had decided to work part time in Oslo and part time in Spain.
Working with cancer patients was very challenging. The ward had 28 beds when I started, and we treated most kinds of cancer. We treated patients with chemotherapy, radiation, hormones etc.
We had patients who could be 98 % certain of being cured, and we had patients receiving treatments to relieve pain and discomfort following the decease. We had many patients needing palliative care, care given when getting well again is no longer the aim.
I worked closely with the Norwegian Cancer Association. They give courses, such as “How to live with cancer”, where we took in doctors, physiotherapists, dieticians and other relevant recourses to educate and guide patients and their relatives. They also had a course called “Hope and Quality of Life”.
This was for patients only. Together with a person from the Cancer Association, I lead these groups for some years. We received special training to lead these groups.
While I was working, I also had a practice where I treated people with different sorts of needs with reflexology.
After I got my degree in psychiatric nursing, I worked a year in the psychiatric ward at the same hospital. Here I worked with patients with psychosis, severe depression, manic depression, suicidal patients, etc.
The last 5 years at the hospital, before I went to Spain, I worked in a team of oncologists, specialized nurses, anesthesiologist, social worker, physiotherapist and psychiatrist. We treated patients in the hospital, we went home to patients and we were educating other personnel within other hospitals.
We were a resource group for Eastern Norway with regards to palliative care, i.e. to patients who were expected to die from their illness within 6 – 12 months.
In England you could compare it to the work of the Macmillan nurses. We also worked closely with a hospice in Oslo.
I stay in touch with my ex colleagues and when I go back to Norway in the summer, I work in one of these wards.