Central Alberta is not just a place Alana Dukes calls home; it’s a community where she has planted her roots, raised her children, and found a deep sense of belonging. Being an integral part of this community is crucial to Alana, which is why her role as a Nurse Navigator at the Central Alberta Cancer Centre holds immense meaning for her. In this blog post, we delve into Alana’s journey, her motivations for working in oncology, and the significant impact of having accessible cancer care close to home in Alberta.
With a career spanning over three decades as a Registered Nurse in both the United States and Canada, Alana has experienced the diverse and fulfilling nature of her profession. However, it was a personal health scare a few years ago that ignited her passion for oncology nursing.
“That made me realize how rewarding it would be to be able to support patients through the roller coaster ride of emotions that are involved with a new cancer diagnosis.”
Now, as the Nurse Navigator at the Central Alberta Cancer Centre, Alana is the first point of contact for patients referred to the facility with a new cancer diagnosis.
“This is a very overwhelming time for patients, so it is immensely gratifying to be able to put someone’s mind at ease by answering questions about what to expect, or by setting up supports to assist them with coping with their symptoms or with the distress that they are facing.”
In her role, Alana faces the ongoing challenge of staying up-to-date with the wide range of community resources available to patients. The vastness of information on the internet can make it difficult to identify the most relevant and valuable resources. However, Alana emphasizes the power of networking with colleagues and industry partners.
“Networking with colleagues, and industry partners is an invaluable source that often reveals fantastic new supports and programs that would be helpful to patients, so always keep networking!”
The Central Alberta Cancer Centre has been a game-changer for patients facing cancer in Red Deer and its surrounding communities. By providing accessible cancer care close to home, the Centre has significantly reduced the burdens of extensive travel for patients and their families.
Alana has witnessed firsthand how this localized care brings relief and peace of mind to patients at a time when their focus should be on healing and recovery.
“Care closer to home is especially meaningful to me, as my own parents live in a rural area, and I see the impact of having to travel in order to access services.”