Kelly-Ann Wakeford - CAPhO19 Summary Report

I would first like to start my summary by saying a big thank you to the CAPhO board of directors and the awards committee for giving me the opportunity to attend this year’s conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax is a beautiful city, the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront was the perfect spot right on the water,  and there was a lot to do and see in your down time out and about in Halifax.

The theme of this year’s conference was Personalized Medicine. I took this to heart and signed up for one of my concurrent sessions on: the Basics of Radiation. I focus so much on chemotherapy in my practice; it was very interesting and enlightening to learn about the day in the life of a radiation therapist. I myself was a radiation patient last year and it sure was different to come into the cancer centre as a patient and not as staff. Catherine explained step by step on what happens from when a patient is diagnosed, to how the treatment plan is made for personalized radiation treatment. She explained how she is there for her patients during each day of radiation, and then helping through any side affects they may experience throughout the treatment course. She gets to know the patient and the patient gets to know Catherine as she sees the patient each day. So much planning goes into each patient’s personalized treatment, much like chemotherapy. Catherine also explained how even after the radiation treatments are finished, the radiation keeps working for at least another 4 weeks. My biggest take away from that session was how much care goes into each treatment plan ( from seeing the radiation oncologist, to mark up,  to the physicists and dosimetrists setting up the prescription, to the exact spot the patient needs to be in on the table each and every time). Each treatment has to be set up the exact same way for the patient to get the right dose to the right area of the body. Each member of the team is important from the booking clerk that books the appointments, down to the housekeeping staff that keeps the room clean each day. The love that Catherine has for her job shined through her talk. You could see how passionate she was about her job and her patients.

I always enjoy the poster viewing in the lounge as there were so many interesting posters to read. Also to get the opportunity to connect with our vendors and talk about what is new and exciting in the industry is always a treat.

The gala was a huge success, as always. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 was amazing. The dance band, the delicious dinner, and the photo booth made the evening so much fun.

The best part of CAPhO conferencing is the networking with colleagues. Connecting with my technician peers from across Canada is so worthwhile. Sharing and learning from each other is so important to our profession. I was fortunate this year to meet a technician from Thunder Bay, Elizabeth Ainsworth. It was her first CAPho conference so I took her under my wing and we spent the weekend together attending our sessions and becoming friends. 

Thank you CAPhO and Halifax for a great weekend. I am looking forward to Toronto in 2020!!!!!!

Kelly-Ann Wakeford, Juravinski Cancer Centre