Ingrid Plueckhahn is a senior nurse at Peter Mac leading the Tobacco Treatment and Smoking Cessation Program and is a member of the Access Team.
What attracted you to nursing?
I was attracted to nursing by the many opportunities it offered. Firstly, I could help improve people's quality of life and their lifestyle by providing care and support with health management interventions, and secondly, it offered me an interesting and diverse career in which I could follow my aspirations and passions. This is still as relevant to me today as it was then.
What was your pathway to becoming a nurse at Peter Mac?
Prior to becoming a nurse at Peter Mac, I worked in a variety of metropolitan and regional hospitals in emergency and intensive care, general medical, paediatric and surgical nursing, so I have a broad spectrum of experience. I have worked within many diverse and unique populations and communities and even as a Remote Area Nurse in Aboriginal communities.
My work and interest in palliative care and cancer rehabilitation led me to Peter Mac, which has always had a reputation as a centre of excellence in cancer care and supporting nursing education in the specialty.
What’s it like working at Peter Mac?
Peter Mac is where you can develop your career direction and aspirations while being involved with innovative projects that are very meaningful for patients. Through the variety of tumour stream specialities and clinical, management and research pathways, there are many opportunities for nurses at Peter Mac. And, camaraderie, support, mentorship and encouragement is always at hand. Peter Mac nurses are encouraged and supported to attain tertiary qualifications and this has inspired many nurses, including myself, to achieve their professional and academic goals.
What are you most proud of in your nursing career so far?
Two standouts for me have been the role of the Practice Development Nurse and the Tobacco Treatment Specialist Nurse. Both roles were innovative projects that took perseverance, persistence and most importantly team work to implement them at Peter Mac.
Within the Practice Development role, we mentor, educate, skill and support nurses to be critical thinkers and clinically competent cancer nurses. This arose out of need to develop nurses with a variety of skill sets and experience to care for cancer patients with increasing complex needs and treatments.
The Tobacco Treatment program at Peter Mac was developed to support patients who want to stop smoking and be cared for in a smoke free hospital. As the lead on this innovative project, I have been very privileged to work with and have the support of key clinical, executive and research collaborators. This has enabled us to implement and sustain a Smoking Cessation program model that is patient focused and assists them to contribute to their own health outcome by quitting smoking. Peter Mac has been a lead hospital and model for many other health services to implement this essential component of patient focused care. I have just spent a fantastic week in Perth having been invited to educate an enthusiastic team of clinical specialist doctors, nurses and pharmacists at Fiona Stanley Hospital on implementing the Peter Mac model of patient focused tobacco treatment program.
What would you say to someone considering a nursing job at Peter Mac?
I think the point of difference at Peter Mac is the fact that there is fantastic camaraderie among the nursing staff here. Support and encouragement is fostered here; creating an environment where people can aspire to achieve their unique personal, educational and professional goals. Nursing careers offer so much variety and differing pathways and a nursing career at Peter Mac will take you anywhere you aspire.
What is your message to nurses at Peter Mac and beyond for International Nurses Day?
Follow your aspirations, critically question, seek the innovations and care not only for your patients but also your colleagues and most importantly, yourself.