Nursing: Dr Donna Milne

Donna is a nurse consultant with the melanoma and skin service and a clinical nurse researcher in the Department of Cancer Experiences Research at the Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre. Donna’s PhD investigated the perceptions of palliative care services held by people with advanced cancer. Her current research activities focus on identifying the needs of patients with melanoma and their family members and the experiences and expectations of patients being treated with immunotherapies.

Since completing my PhD in the Department of Nursing late 2009 I have been working in a dual role at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Three days a week I work as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in the melanoma and skin service and this work very much informs the remaining two days when I work as a Nurse Clinician Researcher in the Department of Cancer Experiences Research.

I am leading, or involved in about 15 research projects focusing on patients with all stages of melanoma and 10 other projects investigating various aspects of nursing care.The opportunity to take on this mixed role is a direct outcome of the studies I did in the Department of Nursing.

While the outcome of my nursing studies has been personally rewarding there is no denying the road to get to this point was at times bumpy and at worst felt insurmountable! But I got there because of the support of my supervisors, the nursing department as a whole and fellow students. No matter what sort of degree you are undertaking (I also did a Master's of Nursing in the department) there are resources and supports, both formal and informal available to guide and help you get through. When I started out in nursing ( a significant number of years ago) I had no idea a role like mine was possible. I feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to patient care both directly and via research.

A comprehensive nursing education program provides so many options and so many opportunities in so many different settings - find an area that excites you and go for it, who knows where you may end up.