The other side of nursing at the GMRI
Not many people can say they are involved in changing the way cancer is treated – so Sophie de Jong considers herself lucky to be part of that process.
Sophie, a Research Nurse, works at the GMRI, experiencing what she considers to be the “other side” of the profession.
“It’s an interesting challenge, being on the other side and dealing with science and research, rather than dealing directly with patients in a hospital,” Sophie says.
“It’s also extremely exciting, being involved with such ground-breaking work.”
Sophie supports the GMRI’s research by collecting data and specimens. This involves identifying suitable tissue donors, and facilitating tissue collection with DHBs and hospitals.
“I’m the link between the patients and the researchers at the lab,” she says.
“The patients who donate their tissue and blood samples are amazing and so generous. They’re always keen to be involved and help out, and in the almost four years I’ve been in this role no one I’ve approached has said no.”
Sophie’s position at the GMRI began when she was approached by one of the Institute’s research fellows, who knew Sophie had an interest in research and academia.
“He asked if I was interested in working at the GMRI, and I was absolutely keen to continue on the research path,” she says.
“It’s challenging, but so enjoyable – I’m learning more and more about another aspect of healthcare.
“It feels great to be able to contribute to the GMRI’s goals in pioneering such critical research.”
Sophie graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2003. She then worked in the plastic surgical ward at Hutt Hospital, before being in a similar role in West Africa with a charity hospital.
Sophie then returned to Hutt Hospital in the post anaesthetic care unit, where she completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Nursing.
Whilst at the GMRI, Sophie has travelled to Sweden to attend the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies Conference, where she presented a paper on behalf of the GMRI. She has also presented at the Plastic Surgical Nurses annual meeting and the Australasian Biobanking Network Association conference.