St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital Breast Care Nurses


St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital (SAWMH) breast care nurses are a dedicated team to support women and men as they travel on their treatment journey.

As we reflect on the World Health Organisations Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we speak to Breast Care Nurse Sophie Peckham and Nurse Practitioner in Breast Oncology Natasha Keir about what brought them to our hospital and how they support our patients and families.


Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to help people and was looking for a career that would offer as many rewards and challenges as I have found being a nurse. 

My nursing career began in 2000 after I graduated from University of Southern Queensland and headed out west to start my graduate year at Longreach Hospital. Two years later, I had itchy feet and yearned to travel to expand both my personal and nursing experience. I followed the well-worn path to London to work as a liver transplant nurse before coming home in 2009 with a renewed vigour to continue my nursing career in Brisbane. I enthusiastically took up an offer to work at SAWMH in the surgical ward and have been honoured to be part of this amazing team ever since.

While in the surgical ward, I found myself increasingly more passionate about breast care as many of my patients were receiving treatment from this team. Providing individualised support, information, and co-ordinated care to both the patients and their families became a priority for me and I was fortunate to be offered a role in the Breast Care Service and have never looked back.

I find the individual stories of all my patients inspiring – that they all face their personal challenges every day, and I feel privileged to be part of a wonderful team that supports and provides multidisciplinary care to ensure the best outcomes. We work together to ensure patients who come to us from rural areas overcome the isolation of being away from their families and provide them with contacts for local supports so they can continue with their treatment and journey close to their family and friends.   

While the pandemic is changing the world around us, we are still dedicated more than ever to providing advice and treatment to alleviate any challenges that our patients may have and to encourage more women to undertake screening. 

I love my job being part of an amazing Breast Care Team that works together to provide a positive experience to all our patients and their families.



I always knew I wanted a career in oncology nursing. My mother fought cancer for 10 years and I found that it was the nurses that made the biggest difference in her care. 

After graduating from QUT, I commenced my nursing career in 1993. Early in my nursing career I worked in the Intensive Care Unit at The Wesley Hospital but with my interest in women’s health and I was offered an opportunity to be trained as a breast care nurse at The Wesley. In 2014, I was given the opportunity to come to St Andrew’s to establish the Breast Care Service….the best decision I have ever made. This year I also became Queensland’s first nurse practitioner in breast oncology. This role enables me to provide further comprehensive care to the patients of St Andrew’s. I was motivated to become Queensland’s first nurse practitioner in breast oncology as I wanted to provide quality, accessible expert nursing care to the patients of St Andrew’s.

I am just one member of the awesome team that includes surgeons, oncologists, nurses, allied health, medical imaging and the support staff of St Andrew’s.

The best part of my job is the phenomenal women, men (yes, men get breast cancer too) and their families I get to meet and support through their cancer journey.

Breast cancer awareness is very significant this “Pinktober” because with COVID-19, there has been a decline in breast screening nationally.

While COVID-19 presents uncertainty for many people, those diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for breast cancer are faced with unique challenges. For a patient to undergo treatment for breast cancer during a pandemic understandably causes significant anxiety and vulnerability, particularly if your family is living overseas or interstate and can’t be there to support you. 

It’s important we are there to offer that support and identify any concerns that need to be addressed. I recently had a beautiful woman who on the day she was diagnosed, was also made redundant from her job. I was able to organise additional financial, practical and emotional support for her as she undergoes treatment to help ease the strain she is experiencing.

Some of most memorable moments for me involve the young women I have the privilege of supporting. To be diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age when your life is just starting to take off is devastating. In the last couple of years, I have had the pleasure of celebrating the marriage of one of the young women I supported and another is having her first child.

But the best part of my job is the phenomenal patients I get to meet and care for – their strength, courage, resilience, and candour inspire me every day.