Meet Nurse Unit Manager, Chemi Lhamo

A passion with purpose

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Chemi Lhamo, Nurse Unit Manager at Icon Cancer Centre Moreland has dedicated her life to helping others as a nurse – leaving a lasting impact on the lives of many Victorian cancer patients through her exceptional care. Her commitment to delivering the best care possible epitomises what we do here at Icon.

Read on to learn about Chemi’s inspiring journey in oncology nursing, see how she embodies our mission, and hear her valuable advice for aspiring nurses.

Making a lasting impact through nursing

Chemi always longed for a career where she could make a difference in people’s lives.

Starting in aged care, she found her passion for caring for people in their most vulnerable moments. However, she wanted to make a more significant impact, so she decided to pursue a nursing career.

“I wanted to learn more about how I could provide the best care possible, so studying nursing felt like the right fit,” Chemi said.

Chemi completed her Diploma in Nursing and landed a role at Epworth Freemasons Hospital as an Enrolled Nurse (EN). After a few years, she aspired to take the next step and become a Registered Nurse (RN) – receiving the Ray Miller Scholarship Program to undertake her Registered Nurse course.

“I yearned to provide a high level of care to my patients, so when the opportunity to become an RN arose, I jumped at it,” Chemi explained.

“This program fueled my passion for nursing and helped me discover what I wanted my career to look like to ensure I could make a difference in patients’ lives.”

During her time as a Nursing Student, Chemi was awarded the ANMF Student of the Year Award and Graduate Nurse of the Year through the Ray Miller Scholarship Program – a testament of her dedication to exceptional care.

A passion for oncology

Through the Epworth Freemasons RN program, Chemi discovered her passion for oncology. She started in medical oncology before eventually moving into a career in radiation oncology.

“What I loved about oncology was getting to help patients through their whole treatment journey – from diagnosis to surgery and treatment to end of treatment,” Chemi explained.

“While I enjoyed working with medical oncology patients, it was an experience with a patient receiving radiation therapy – and seeing the benefits it brought to their quality of life – that pushed me towards radiation oncology nursing.

“I know nursing can allow you to have a broad career in many different specialties, but I have found my purpose in radiation oncology nursing.”

Providing the best care possible

As an oncology nurse, Chemi finds immense joy in delivering exceptional care to cancer patients.

“What I love about my job is being able to help people when they need it and contribute to their life – after all, patients don’t come here by choice, so I try to provide exceptional care every time,” Chemi said.

“I am in my happy place at work, being able to help people, and then I go home at the end of the day knowing my patients are safe and I made an impact on their lives.

“I truly think our purpose in life is to help others – in whatever way we can – and I get to do this daily.”

To ensure she can support patients during difficult times, Chemi also completed her specialised training in palliative care, bringing these skills into her role as an oncology nurse.

Impact at scale

Chemi leaves a lasting impact on patients beyond their treatments.

“A professor once told me you will have a lasting impact on patients in one of two ways – for being a bad nurse or a great nurse,” Chemi explained.

“We still have past patients and their families coming up to us as they remember the time we were able to help them, and they have developed a strong trust in us.

“Even long after treatment, we are there to support our patients and their families, which is important in providing the best care possible.”

Opportunity, at hand

Chemi has embraced every opportunity, even when feeling uncertain about her abilities.

“The only way I can provide the best care possible to my patients is by learning with every opportunity, so there is no time to worry whether I am good enough for it – I must go for it,” Chemi said.

“I started with small opportunities – trying other roles in the team, including taking on a prostate cancer nurse portfolio and helping create a work procedure for patients having brachytherapy – and eventually took on more responsibilities.

“These things built my confidence and helped me move into a senior nursing role.

“I am grateful for all the opportunities working with Icon – learning and contributing my expertise too.”

Empowering our nursing leaders

Chemi’s contribution to her patients and Icon led her into the Nurse Unit Manager role – now leading the nursing unit at our Moreland centre in Victoria, while still working on the floor.

“I feel so lucky to lead such an incredible group of Nurses, and I hope to use my experiences from throughout my career to help them flourish and provide the best care possible,” Chemi said.

“I am still learning the ropes of being a leader, but I am grateful for all the support from the Icon Nursing Leadership and Education Team and Icon Moreland management and team.

“I am excited to bring my passion for innovation into my leadership role – find new ways of providing the best care possible and creating a better outcome for patients.”

Purpose at pace

To have a fulfilling career in oncology nursing, Chemi says to remind yourself of why you’re doing it.

“We are all here for a purpose – to help someone vulnerable and support and guide them during their most challenging times – and I know this fulfils us,” Chemi expressed.

“It can be a very demanding job at times, but that’s when you must stop and remember why you are doing this and come together as a team – supporting and respecting one another.

“As nurses, we have an extra special heart, so, just keep doing what you do to your best abilities and capabilities, keep learning and look for the opportunities that will help you provide more and better possible care to our patients.”


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