Supporting our community

Supporting our community with dialysis and oncology services.

Portland District Health’s first locally trained nurse practitioner, Nat Abel, is helping to keep people out of hospital and off the road.

Ms Abel specialises in dialysis, oncology and haematology services and since starting her specialty has supported many people to remain in their homes.

“I mostly support oncology and haematology patients and one of my priorities is to help most of them to avoid hospital admissions and we’ve had a lot of success with that,” she said.

“I also help people in hospital, but it’s better if we can help them to manage their condition at home rather than come in to hospital, depending on their situation. This is especially important during the COVID pandemic.”

Ms Abel has also been able to provide help when patients can’t get to see their GPs, supports specialists Heamotologist Dr Jen Brotchie and Oncologist Associate Professor Ian Collins and liaises with the dialysis team in Geelong.

“I support patients with renal diseases who would otherwise have to travel to Geelong,” she said. “It’s really good to know that I’m helping to prevent them having to go to hospital or to travel long distances.”

A nurse practitioner has additional authority to prescribe medication, refer patients to other health professionals and order tests.

“I am getting more involved in their clinical care but it is clear I am still a nurse, not a doctor. I practice under a Registered Nurse capability but with extended scope,” Ms Abel said.

The Glenelg community can access Ms Abel’s support. “We want to let the community know that this service is available locally for cancer patients,” she said. “I know I am doing my part and helping a lot of people by making a difference in their cancer journey.”

Ms Abel’s husband George Sison is also being supported at PDH to become a nurse practitioner to work in chronic disease.

Ms Abel has been working as a registered nurse with PDH since 2013, originally in dialysis but later in oncology.