Alfred Health Radiation Oncology runs training course for Malaysian Nurses in brachytherapy

Saturday Jan 23rd 2016

Our brachy nurse, Deb Stokes, was the guest of the Malaysian National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Kuala Lumpur for two days in November 2015, to educate nurses on prostate and gynaecological brachytherapy.

The national two-day course was funded by a grant by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and was attended by 250 nurses from 20 hospitals across Malaysia. The course was opened by an address from the Director-General of Health for Malaysia, with many national government officials present for the first session.

Deb was the only content-expert speaking, and gave about a dozen hours of talks and question-and-answer sessions over the two days, on nursing aspects of seed and HDR prostate and gynaecological brachytherapy.

Deb had the opportunity to have tour of the new hospital, which—although fully operational—has not yet had its “official” opening. There were many similarities to Australian hospitals, but one difference is they also use Chinese herbal medicines (on the completion of conventional treatment) and acupuncture. Currently they are conducting a trial looking at the effect of acupuncture on chemo-induced nausea and vomiting.

The nursing course “partnered” with a similar IAEA-supported course on the medical, radiation therapist, and physics aspects of prostate brachytherapy, run at the NCI by Alfred Health experts Ryan Smith and Cath Beaufort in October 2015. The Malaysian Director General of Health expressed a desire for this networking to continue, and the nurses were keen to come to Melbourne to learn more from the Alfred’s expertise and experience.