Cancer Nurse Navigator
June Bartlett works as a Cancer Nurse Navigator at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, guiding her patients and their families through the cancer care process. Her duties include; providing education to patients about tests, diagnoses, symptom management, and medication; providing emotional, spiritual, and psychological support; being a liaison between patients and the rest of the healthcare team; and so much more.
In 1999, June and her high school sweetheart (now husband) moved from Belleoram, Newfoundland to Yellowknife after hearing about a family member’s wonderful experience living in the north. Soon after June arrived in Yellowknife, more family members joined her from Newfoundland. Years later, June is surrounded by extended family, her husband, and their children, and is glad she took a chance on moving to Yellowknife. June says that the similarity between the landscapes of the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland also helped to draw her in.
“That’s probably why we all love it so much, it feels like home.”
Earning her nursing degree at Aurora College in Yellowknife, June has worked her entire professional nursing career at the Stanton Territorial Hospital. For the first few years of her career, June worked in paediatrics, before transitioning to dialysis. When the new hospital opened in 2019, the chemotherapy and dialysis suites were positioned next to one another. Seeing an opportunity for growth, June asked to be trained in oncology to better support patients and colleagues.
“I asked to be trained in oncology because, being side-by-side in the hospital, it makes it easier for nurses to help one another. I quickly fell in love with the work.”
“It’s so rewarding knowing that you’re helping patients through such a stressful journey. I do have some difficult days – some of these stories are certainly sad. But knowing that you can remove one small barrier for your patient is so worth it. Navigating the healthcare system during cancer can be difficult, and patients shouldn’t have to worry about what goes on behind the scenes. Their focus should just be on recovery and treatment.”
The team environment is another important aspect of June’s work. She says she loves working with all of her colleagues and is proud of the way they support their patients. Personal touches and connections with patients include participation in fundraising events like the Run for Our Lives Mud Bucket Challenge, throwing celebrations when a patient finishes their treatment, playing music, and displaying motivational quotes.
“Our team does a fantastic job and is always participating in any way that they can to help their patients. They always try to make the celebrations a big occasion... It’s really motivating for the other patients who are still undergoing treatment, to be able to see others reaching their milestones lifts everyone’s mood.”
“I’ve worked with a lot of great nurses throughout my career, but working in this team is inspiring. It can be hard emotionally at times, but they do such a fantastic job. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’m so proud to be a part of something so wonderful.”
June’s advice for anyone thinking of moving to the Northwest Territories is simply: Go for it!
She loves the community, the opportunities for professional development, the close proximity to nature, and the short commute times. While the remoteness and weather may have some health and social services professionals unsure of what to expect, she says she wouldn’t change a thing.
“What I’ve been able to accomplish in my career here would take me forever if I was living in another province. Every time I’ve reached out to further my education and training, they have been supportive.”
“I’ve had a great career, learning so much and working with fantastic professionals. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interesting in coming up!”
Thank you to June for sharing her stories with us! If you'd like to learn more about nursing careers in the Northwest Territories, visit our HSS Careers tab for more information.