Peter Mac’s new Nursing Discovery program began last week with eight registered nursing recruits.

Over the 12-18 month program, the nurses will learn to care for people with the most complex cancers, training in the essentials of anti-cancer therapy – chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies.

One of the participants, Emily Salim, moved over 2,000 kilometres from Queensland’s Mackay to join the program.

“I want to learn about this specialised skill from the best, and was willing to move interstate because I knew that this Discovery program was a very special opportunity for me.”

After graduating from nursing at Queensland University of Technology in 2008 Emily worked in aged care, before taking up a position at Mackay’s Mater Hospital. There she worked as a peri-op nurse and endoscopic nurse, before upgrading her clinical skills and working in the medical oncology and palliative wards.

​“Ever since then, I have been very interested in cancer nursing,” Emily explains, “I can see how prevalent the disease is and how little some of the nurses in Mackay (especially the young ones like me) know about the best practise of cancer care for such patients.”

“Cancer nursing is a uniquely challenging and rewarding occupation. With this program we’re proud to offer qualified registered nurses a supportive and structured opportunity to learn on the job,” said Acting Chief Nursing Officer Andy Dimech.

The nurses will complete up to three rotations in Peter Mac’s Haematology and Medical Oncology wards, and the Chemotherapy Day Unit.

After her first week, Emily explains “To be honest, I was and probably still am a little nervous, being here out of  my comfort zone. But I’m enjoying this steep learning curve, and I’m sure my other seven colleagues agree that we all are excited with this new adventure.”

 Having spent week one in the classroom, Emily and her new colleagues are eager to begin their practical     induction this week.

 “I can’t wait to be fully immersed in Peter Mac and to also contribute my skills to the hospital.”

Andy adds, “We are really lucky to have recruited such a skilled group. I’m looking forward to seeing them out on the ward, delivering the compassionate specialist care that Peter Mac is dedicated to.”


Nursing Discovery program recruit Emily Salim.