Last update : september 2016

According to the Direction de la lutte contre le cancer (2008), the pivot nurse in oncology acts as a support resource for people living with cancer, from diagnosis right through the entire cancer experience, including treatments.

She is the person you must contact first if you have questions and concerns between your medical appointments. The pivot nurse will refer you to other members of the health care team or external resources, if need be.

To learn more about pivot nurses: 

  • Pivot nurses assess the resources and health needs of patients and the needs of their family, if relevant.
  • They educate patients on the disease, its treatments, its impact and on the follow-up they will need in the short, intermediate and long term.
  • They help patients navigate the care and services available and refer them to other health care professionals or community resources that can best meet their needs.
  • They provide support to people with cancer and their loved ones.
  • They ensure the coordination and continuity of care among all members of the health care team.

Before your appointment

  • Prepare your questions in advance and write them down, if possible. See the list of sample questions.
  • Bring your list of medications and your “Oncology Passport” health booklet (if you have received it).
  • Ask someone to come with you to take notes.
  • Contact the Info-Cancer services if you need help preparing for your appointment. 

During the appointment

  • Make sure you understand when, how and why to contact the pivot nurse.

After your appointment

  • Write relevant information obtained from the pivot nurse
Info-cancer nurses Brigitte Fournier and Louise Plaisance have prepared the following list of sample questions you may want to ask your pivot nurse. Both Brigitte and Louise worked for many years as pivot nurses in Quebec City.

Cancer and its treatment

  • When can I talk to you and why would I? Please give me examples.
  • Can you remind me of the stage of my disease? What is TNM staging?
  • Can you explain my treatment schedule and how long it will last?
  • Can you describe what my day at the cancer clinic/in preoperative planning/radiation therapy planning will look like?
  • How will I know my cancer is getting better after the treatments?
  • Will I be able to go on vacation during the course of my treatment?
  • Will I be able to babysit my grandchildren during my treatment?
  • Will I be able to keep working during my treatment?
  • Can I come to my treatments by myself? Do I need someone to come with me?
  • Should I be on a special diet during my treatment?
  • What can I expect after surgery?
  • When will I be able to go back to my activities/work?
  • Will I need more treatments after?
  • Will I be able to keep exercising during my treatment?

Problems living with cancer (Feel free to talk about your fears and worries)

  • I need to talk to someone. Can I come and see you between my treatments?
  • Why do you screen for distress?
  • Why do you do an initial assessment of needs?

Resources available

  • What resources are available to me (example: psychological support, transportation, home care, financial aid)?
  • What should I do if I don’t feel well when the cancer clinic is closed?
  • Who are the members of your interdisciplinary team of professionals?
  • What community organizations can help me?
  • Do you have a list of their services?

To learn more

For more information about the role of pivot nurses or for help getting ready for your appointment, call the Info-Cancer Hotline (1 800 363-0063) to speak with a nurse or documentalist.

Sign up for our newsletter







 

Related items

The emotional challenge of a cancer diagnosis

The verdict is in: “You have cancer.” Your reaction: “Why me? What will happen now? How do I announce it to others?” The word “cancer” is still frightening, taboo and equated with death. It is seen as an invisible enemy to be eradicated. In this word there is the idea of something bad inside, the belief of being responsible for the illness and the notion of a disease without a cure. So what is it, exactly?

Readmore

Supporting a love one with cancer

A loved one has cancer and you want to support them in their ordeal? There is no model or recipe to follow. The answer is actually quite simple: be attentive and show that you are there for them. Whatever help you can give will be invaluable. Readmore

Parenting with cancer

Being diagnosed with cancer turns your life upside down. This is even more so when you are a parent of young children or even teenagers. You probably want to protect your children from this trial and the upheaval it can cause. Readmore

Balancing work and support for a family member

Balancing your job and your role as caregiver for a person with cancer can be a real challenge. Sometimes you need to reduce your work hours or even quit your job to dedicate yourself full time to the person affected by the illness. Readmore

Cancer prevention

While many aspects of cancer remain unknown at this time, it is possible for you to adopt life habits that can help you prevent the disease.
There are therefore things you can do to positively affect your health and minimize certain risk factors. Readmore