Interview with Susan Hall, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT)
We are so proud of Susan Hall, recipient of the Arrow Trace Richey Scholarship in 2021, who has recently graduated from the Master in Cancer and Haematology Nursing degree through the University of Sydney.
Since completing the course, Susan has been recognised as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant on ward 9S at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, where she has been working for the past four years caring for transplant patients.
Jen from the Arrow team chats with Susan about her career in nursing and what’s happened for her since the completion of her degree.
What drew you to nursing, Susan?
The desire to work with people and contribute meaningfully to the community. I very much wanted a job that was hands on.
Nursing certainly is that! Can you tell us a little more about your nursing career to date?
I’ve had quite a diverse experience over the past ten years, both here in Australia and abroad in the UK. I’ve worked in palliative care, cardio-thoracic and heart lung transplant, community nursing, and now haematology and bone marrow transplant (BMT). I’ve kind of fallen into all these areas, and find it’s often the team and patients that you work with that keep you in the role, not necessarily the specialty. However, I would say that Haematology and BMT has definitely sealed a place in my heart because of how truly special this patient population is to work with.
When did you know you wanted to specialise in cancer and bone marrow transplant care?
After working in this field for about 2 years I realised I wanted to specialise on this area. This specialty of nursing has very technical aspects to it and treatments are always evolving and developing – so it’s very mentally stimulating. There is also a strong interpersonal component. We get to know our patients well and develop deep relationships with them and their families. I find that aspect very rewarding.
How was the masters program? And what does it mean for you now that you’ve finished?
I really enjoyed the masters course. Completing the masters was an exciting and rewarding achievement. It solidified a lot of knowledge I already had and drew on my experience to connect the dots.
Since taking on my masters, the scholarship has enabled me to gain recognition as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant. I have also had the opportunity to take on the Acting Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) role to cover relief on the ward, which has also been a great opportunity and very rewarding given the influx of junior staff and new graduates.
The progress I have made in my career over the last year in particular is thanks to the study I have undertaken through my masters degree. Without the support to pursue further studies these career advances would not have been possible.
And where next for you, Susan?
I would love to pursue a full time education role. I really enjoy working with junior staff and developing their curiosity and love for the work they do. The experience [of acting as a CNE] has definitely spurred on my desire to continue pursuing CNE roles in the future.
If you’re a nurse considering enrolling in the Master of Cancer and Haematology Nursing, with a particular interest in bone marrow transplant care, take a look at our available nurse scholarships.