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Alice McKenney on March 11, 2010
Last week was the first session of our 2010 Educational Series for Healthcare Professionals led by Rebecca Nellis, Director of Programs at Cancer and Careers, and Laura Mosiello, Director of Women's Cancer at CancerCare. Titled "Practical Advice and Tools to Balance Cancer and Employment", it covered a wide variety of issues including how to share the news in the workplace, creating a workable schedule, and getting back to 'normal'.
One of the hardest questions that came up during the call was from a healthcare professional wanting to know how to advise the patients she sees who are manual laborers, which makes going back to work much more challenging especially since those jobs on top of being physically taxing are also often without insurance or paid time off.
Laura Mosiello: I have a few patients in this predicament. Since I know that they use their body as a tool or perhaps work in a factory, is there some other job that they can do and still be employed by that employer, if they chose? Or if they are self-employed I think that may be a point where they would want to contact Cancer and Careers and speak to a free career coach, someone who's gone through it and perhaps can walk them through and assess what their skills are. At that point they may need to reinvent themselves.
Rebecca Nellis: This a question that we certainly get a lot and there is no readymade answer and it's challenging across the spectrum. It’s important to keep in mind that a career coach isn’t just for someone who goes and sits at a desk every day, but rather that a career coach is someone who can help you think about your work life and that is encompassing of everyone, in all positions. Unfortunately, I don't have an immediate solution to that, especially since those jobs are often hourly, self-employed, or not insured. But I would start by talking to someone who might be able to reframe their experiences.
We had a record number of Healthcare Professionals call in to learn more about this important topic and its impact for their patients. Our speakers did a great job and feedback so far has been really positive! If you missed the session be sure to check out the archive of it here: http://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/healthcare-professionals/presentation-archive
Don't forget we have two more session of our Educational Series for Healthcare Professionals coming up, click here for more information.