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Trained Onsite Interpreters

Our collaborative training with our client Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre delivered to more than 60 interpreters was an exclusive presentation for All Graduates.

The two-hour session, held at the centre, covered the following topics:

(click on the topics for further information)

Loss, Grief and Self-Care

Good Hand Hygiene Practices and Annual Influenza Vaccines

An Introduction to Radiation Therapy

Read about the professional development and training provided to All Graduates' Interpreters

PeterMac AllGraduates Training October2011

Loss, Grief and Self-Care

Presented by Denise Beovich, Senior Social Worker at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Social Workers provide support to patients and their families at all stages on the cancer path, which includes: Pre-diagnosis, Treatment, Recurrence, End of life, Remission and Cure.

We learnt from Denise that Government policy and Action Plans recognize that treatment should focus on the whole person, as opposed to just focusing on the illness.

Issues specifically considered in the impact of cancer on the CALD community were discussed and included:

  • Cancer being perceived as a death sentence
  • Past traumas
  • Literacy levels and socioeconomic factors
  • Expectations of an individual’s culture
  • Does the concept or word ‘cancer’ exist in their language and culture?

Patient and family’s experience of cancer depends upon:

  • Type of cancer; its stage and prognosis
  • Degrees of disability
  • The intensity of the treatment – a patient may experience all or some of the side effects
  • The age and stage in life cycle
  • Past experience with cancer
  • Current situation
  • Emotional make-up
  • Degree of social support
  • Typical ways of coping with stressful situations

Denise talked of the various types of loss a patient may experience:

  • Loss of health, mobility and function
  • Loss of potential
  • Loss of dreams
  • Loss of life when a patient dies

She identified a range of factors that social workers, and other health professionals, use to assess and identify potential risk for psychosocial distress amongst cancer patients. Some of these were:

  • Coming from a CALD background (due to language barriers and cultural challenges)
  • Single, separated, poor family function, divorced and widowed
  • Facing economic adversity
  • Living in a rural area

How to self-care:

Denise spoke about the variety of factors that can cause stress and suggested that interpreters be aware of for themselves.

  • Acknowledge that your workload might cause you stress
  • Recognise the impact of having many patients die during a short period
  • Trying to be more to the patient and family than your professional role and boundaries allow

Be aware that:

  • You will encounter certain patients who evoke an unconscious emotional response in you that may contribute to stress
  • Either patient-specific issues or issues within your own life can stimulate these emotional responses


How to look after yourself

Find out what support is available to you. Be aware of your individual emotional triggers.

Where possible:

  • Talk to someone you trust – either professional or personal
  • Take a break
  • Raise issues with agency
  • Get some additional training (like tonight!!)

Good Hand Hygiene Practices and Annual Influenza Vaccines

Presented by Susan Harper – Manager Infection Control/Staff Vaccinations at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Interpreters need to ensure:

  • all vaccinations are up to date
  • all annual influenza vaccination are up to date
  • all contact precautions are taken

Interpreters need to use DeBug and using the World Health Organization standards of hygiene and the 5 Moments.

Susan shared the importance of when all individuals in the hospital, to wash hands when

  • visibly soiled
  • before prepping food
  • after going to the toilet

Use DeBug hand wash:

  • before contact with a patient
  • after contact with a patient
  • after contact with any patient surrounds


The hospital has a Coughing Etiquette

  • cover up your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • throw away your tissues in a plastic-lined rubbish bin
  • wash hands often

Inpatient wards – standard and contact transmission precautions

When not sure, please ask the Nurse in charge

Ensure that you gown/ glove/wear mask if required, before entering patient room

Use DeBug before and after removal of gloves

Note: Not all patients who are VRE+ are placed in Ward 2

Peter Mac is committed to providing exceptional care. We ask interpreters to stay home if they have had exposure to infection such as measles, chickenpox, diarrhea, influenza, etc.

Susan ended her presentation with a reminder that free influenza vaccinations are available for interpreters from April to May, Monday to Friday. No appointments are necessary for this Annual Influenza Program.

An Introduction to Radiation Therapy

Presented by Tim Michael, at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Tim shared that approximately 50 per cent of cancer patients will have radiation therapy, which is extremely localized.

To increase the accuracy of the treatment, the patients are required to keep very still during each treatment and may need extra support to assist them to do so. Some patients, having treatment in their head and neck area, may require a custom-made mask during their treatment. This can be daunting for most patients. A lot of time is spent talking with the patient to ensure they understand what to expect during each procedure and to try to alleviate any anxiety they may be experiencing.

He explained how the radiotherapy professionals will take a long time to precisely setup the patient in their treatment position prior to the delivery of the radiation treatment. Each treatment must be exactly the same.

During the treatment, the patient does not feel, see, smell or taste the radiation. There are some side effects from the treatment. These will vary from patient to patient and are dependant on the anatomical area of the patient being treated.


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