My name is Nienke Zomerdijk and I am an early career researcher in Psycho-Oncology. My role is focused on both research and teaching. I am teaching undergraduate psychology students about the psychological needs of cancer patients and their families. I find this very rewarding and it is my hope to plant some psycho-oncology seeds. In my role as researcher, I am focused on understanding and addressing the psychological needs of people with cancer and their families. I am particularly passionate about haematological cancers. From my clinical experience in this setting, haematological cancer patients face additional challenges of intensive and lengthy treatments like stem cell transplantation and severe side effects. However, compared with cancers such as breast cancer or, increasingly, prostate cancer, the needs of this patient population have not received widespread attention. I hope to advocate for their needs and preferences and work together with community organisations and healthcare professionals to ensure the best psychosocial outcomes for haematological cancer patients.
Being a member of the International Psycho-Oncology Society - IPOS represents for me a community. IPOS has supported my research journey since 2016 when I was just starting my PhD. When I was blown away by the community, passion, and ideas at my first congress in Dublin, I knew I loved psycho-oncology. I am among the most fortunate people to have had the opportunity to learn from Prof Jane Turner, past IPOS president. She instilled in me the confidence to pursue a career in Psycho-Oncology and I am forever in her debt.