Our Executive Officer, Liam Willis, recently presented at the latest Gastro-Intestinal Special Interest Group (GISIG) summit.
GISIG members include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, registrars, cancer nurses, and researchers who are specialists in the field of gut cancer treatment. The group meets to discuss the latest in treatment options and clinical trials, discuss and share best practice, and ensure participants are up to speed with the latest in global advances in the treatment of cancers of the digestive system.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, GCF provided funding that enabled 3 members of the group to attend the latest summit. One recipient, Dr Nuala Helsby, said “Unfortunately scientists do not get any continuing medical education (CME) funding. So without philanthropic support, it is very difficult to find the money to cover registration and travel costs to attend scientific meetings”. Amongst other things, Dr Helsby was at the summit to introduce her THYmine2 research funded thanks to the generosity of GCF supporters. She continued, “I was very excited to be able to talk to a wider group. I feel very privileged as a scientist to be able to have these interactions and build personal relationships with clinicians to try to make sure the research has an appropriate real-world context”.
Oncology Nurse Practitioner Kirsten Wagteveld also received funding to attend the summit and describes the impact attending such ongoing education has for nurses in her position…
“As nurse practitioners, we have undergone advanced training to upskill in medical knowledge and expertise. Because of this, we are able to work independently as part of the wider medical/nursing team, assessing and managing patients. This includes clinical assessment, requesting investigations such as blood tests and scans, diagnosing and prescribing medications including chemotherapy. Whilst our training includes basic medical skills and knowledge and more advanced knowledge of oncology, it does not include the more specialized knowledge specific to each tumour stream, thus we have to make the most of any learning opportunities that are made available to us.
Nurse practitioners do not have access to the same funding that our medical colleagues do. As a nurse practitioner working in the GI cancer stream, I have been fortunate to have very supportive medical colleagues who have participated in my education. All of oncology is a rapidly evolving field of medicine with a vast number of clinical trials and scientific research that changes treatment strategies and patient outcomes. Keeping abreast of this evidence enables me to support my patients with information and decision making. It is an essential part of my practice. I very much appreciated the support to attend the GI SIG summit. This meeting helps place emerging treatment strategies within the context of the New Zealand health system and the challenges we face.”
GCF EO Willis said, “I am delighted that our wonderful donors have allowed GCF to support our clinician and researcher community in this way. We are all working towards the same goals of increasing survival rates, life expectancy and quality of life for New Zealanders with a gut cancer, so having the chance to talk with and listen to this inspiring group is hugely beneficial for GCF.  I look forward to deepening our links and further supporting this group who are without doubt some of the brightest minds in New Zealand”.