PCFA champion: Meet PCSN Julie Sykes


As PCFA’s Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service marks its 10-year milestone today (International Nurses Day, May 12), we take a look back at where it all began!

Meet Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Julie Sykes. She’s one of the most passionate women you’ll ever meet – devoted to providing the best possible care to all men and their families impacted by prostate cancer.

It has been a life-long commitment for Julie who also led the development of Australia’s first Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service.

“I had been working with prostate cancer patients in the UK for many years before I moved to Australia in 2006. I could see a definite gap in the care for prostate cancer patients in Australia so worked with stakeholders from all disciplines in prostate cancer care to develop a proposal for a prostate cancer specialist nursing service and presented it to PCFA in 2010.

“In 2011, I joined PCFA to further develop and lead the program and in May 2012, we officially launched the new service with 12 nurses.”

10 years on, the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service has now grown to 100 nurses and provided vital support to around 70,000 men – helping them through treatment, connecting them into support services, and helping them manage side effects and improve quality of life after treatment.

“Seeing the program grow this much has been so great to see. The provision of Federal Government funding to enable the program to be expanded is certainly an acknowledgement of the benefit that the service provides to those impacted by prostate cancer,” Julie said.

“More recently, the addition of the Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenursing Service has enabled PCFA to have a greater reach.”

Having achieved what she set out to do and establish a sustainable nursing service, Julie decided to leave PCFA and return to clinical practice in Perth.

In 2017 Julie decided to return to PCFA and take up the role of a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse at GenesisCare in Joondalup, Western Australia as part of the PCFA nursing service

“This has been a very rewarding opportunity working with the local community and specialists in all areas of prostate cancer care, and develop a service for people who live in the northern suburbs of Perth,” she said.

Today, as Julie reflects on her time with PCFA and the service, she said she’s extremely proud of the contribution she’s been able to make and watch the service go from strength to strength.

“It’s very rewarding to see how it’s grown over the years and encouraging to see strong leadership taking it forward ensuring it remains fitting to the needs of the community which it supports,” she said.

Looking ahead, Julie said she is focused on providing the best support she can to improve the quality of life of men and families in her region.

This year the theme for PCFA’s International Nurses Day is #10YearsofLeadershipandCare. For Julie, leadership is demonstrated through results.

“This is not just through professional achievement, but at an interpersonal level as well. It’s demonstrated in how we relate to each other, motivate each other, and inspire each other to do the best we can. If those around me feel well supported and have what they need in place – then I have done my job well.”

Thank you, Julie for your contribution to the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service, and to all men and families impacted by prostate cancer.

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