Oncology Nursing Day: Celebrating LGFB'…


Oncology Nursing Day: Celebrating LGFB's major supporters

April 3, 2017 | by Larissa Cahute

Brampton’s Lollita Rahaman, clinical nurse educator at William Osler Health System, can easily recall one of the most difficult moments from her nearly 20-year career of working the oncology floor.

"I remember one patient in particular, who didn't have a good prognosis," Lollita said, adding that it's especially difficult when she sees patients with young kids of their own at the fifth floor clinic.

She told the story about a young mother who knew she didn't have much time left, so she wrote her two children birthday cards, notes and stories for upcoming life events she'd inevitably miss. 

“It was really sad,” said Lollita.

While those days are difficult in her line of work, Lollita takes solace in the fact she and her team helped ease the young mom's symptoms and helped her family through the grieving process.

“We all make the difference by providing treatment and support for those patients in many different ways,” she said.

And for every tough day, there's a good one with an inspiring success story, which is why she and her team stand by the important and rewarding work they do everyday.

When the oncology nurses first connect with a newly diagnosed patient, they lead them through an education session. They tell them what to expect with treatment, medication and side effects and let them know the programs that are available. They always refer patients to Wellspring Chinguacousy, which offers a variety of support groups and programs, including Look Good Feel Better.

These referrals account for 60 per cent of the women who benefit from LGFB.

In honour of Oncology Nursing Day today, April 4, LGFB is celebrating these amazing nurses, because we simply couldn’t do it without their support.


Read the interviews below to find out why these oncology nurses love what they do and commit their lives to helping women with cancer feel like themselves again:


Lollita Rahaman

Oncology Nurse Educator, William Osler Health System

Q: Why are you an oncology nurse?

When I was five-years-old and living in Guyana, I used to tend to the elderly ladies in the community by brushing their hair. They used to say to me, ‘You’re so gentle – you should be a nurse.’

That kind of stuck in my head and I never thought of another career. I moved to Canada in 1981, and when I graduated from high school I applied for nursing.

I started in Palliative Care, then made the switch to oncology, because you get to see people getting better, or getting treatment or getting some type of relief from their symptoms.

While there are some difficult days, with improvements in medicine and treatment, patient outcomes are getting better everyday.


Q: Why do you refer patients to Look Good Feel Better?

They get to meet other patients in the same situation as themselves and they’re able to network with other patients and then when they come to the clinic sometimes they see each other.

They get to put on some makeup, or see how they’d look in a scarf or a wig – and they just feel better about their situation.


Gisele McLean

Oncology Nurse, William Osler Health System


Q: Why are you an oncology nurse?

Cancer patients to me are the most courageous and hopeful people and that gives me hope too. When you listen to all the news and all the bad stuff going on in the world, I really like coming to work … it’s a happy place.

It’s hard when they don’t make it, but it’s a part of life and we’ve helped them through the journey and we’ve given them hope to the end.

I feel that we’re helping them and giving them hope – and the patients appreciate everything we do.


Q: Why do you refer patients to Look Good Feel Better?

I refer the patients to Look Good Feel Better because a lot of them need support and losing their hair is a big thing – for the women, very big. They say sometimes that’s worse than just getting the chemo, so they’re very happy when we can send them there.

And when they come back to the clinic, you always know who’s gone to the workshop because they’ve got their makeup on and they’re just coming in smiling.

They always tell us that it was a big help.



Charge Oncology Nurse, William Osler Health System

Q: Why are you an oncology nurse?

It’s rewarding. Yes, it’s sad sometimes, but at least you have the good too. You see the success stories – and there are more success stories now with improvements in medicine and treatment.

You meet a lot of really nice people and they’re really grateful that we’re here and we’re helping. We have patients bring us in food or gifts (like an orchid that’s currently sitting at the clinic’s front desk). And a lot of them leave encouraging notes and compliments on a ‘Bravo Board.’


Q: Why do you refer patients to Look Good Feel Better?

Its always been a really helpful program for the women. Many are grateful to learn how to properly tie a scarf, but I encourage them to go for peer support more than anything. It’s really important for these guys to meet people who are in the same situation, to know that they’re not the only one out there. They’ll find a lot of support in groups like that.


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Larissa Cahute

Look Good Feel Better

I’m a Communication Associate with Look Good Feel Better. As a former journalist, I believe that everyone has a story worth telling – and that’s what I’m here for: to share the inspiring stories of those I meet through LGFB.