29th July 2014

It is when people are facing the hardest moments in their lives that Dr Raymond Chan's work is most valuable.

The celebrated researcher has dedicated his career to ensuring those living with cancer receive the best possible care, support and quality of life.

Aged just 30, Dr Chan was honoured with the QUT Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year award at the annual Outstanding Alumni Awards at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (JULY 29).

His leading contribution to supportive cancer care research saw Dr Chan appointed Deputy Director of Research for Cancer Care Services at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital earlier this year and he is also a National Health and Medical Research Council Health Professional Research Fellow at QUT.

"I'm quite shocked to win this award and of course very, very happy and humbled," Dr Chan said.

It is the latest accolade in what has already been a remarkable career for Dr Chan, who joined QUT to study a Bachelor of Nursing as a 17-year-old international student from Hong Kong.

Whilst working as a registered nurse in Brisbane hospitals, he went on to complete a Masters in Research and a PhD, racking up more than 10 years studying at QUT, including his Bachelor degree.

Since turning to research, Dr Chan has rapidly developed into a leading researcher in supportive cancer care, attracting nearly $3 million in research grant funding and publishing more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

"I found caring for patients very rewarding but sometimes you would see cracks in knowledge, where we didn't know how to tackle a particular problem, and I felt quite helpless because I could only influence things at one level," Dr Chan said.

"In research I can actually develop knowledge that can influence practice worldwide, and that is very rewarding."

His current role includes facilitating evidence-based practice among 270 nurses in the RBWH-based Cancer Care Service, the largest cancer centre in Queensland.

"I started at the centre in 2008 in a nurse researcher role, coaching nurses about how they can base practice on as much evidence as possible," he said.

"Now, my role is still about using research to develop innovative treatment and care for cancer patients, but also to encourage others to do research across disciplines other than nursing."

Aiming to find innovative solutions to practical problems faced by people with cancer, Dr Chan's research has investigated issues including how patients with advanced cancer manage their fatigue and the effectiveness of a cream designed to ease skin reactions to radiation treatment.

Dr Chan said cancer-related research often focused on finding possible cures, but his work was more concerned with ensuring patients had the best quality of life while living with the illness.

"There's a lot of talk about when we might cure cancer and when we will be cancer free," Dr Chan said.

"But in the meantime we need the patients to have the best quality of life they can.

"It's really about supporting them from diagnosis through the whole journey."

Being able to make a "global impact on care" was one of the most rewarding aspects of Dr Chan's work.

"When health professionals email you from the other end of the globe thanking you for your research, and telling you they have based their care on that research, it is very rewarding," he said.

And the comfort and care of those living with cancer remains the key focus of Dr Chan's work.

"My aim is to continue conducting research that is meaningful to patient care, and ultimately improves the quality of life for those patients," he said.

"When I was working clinically I would often see patients or families cry and it would be very emotional.

"I don't have as much face-to-face contact now but that compassion that comes with spending time with patients and wanting them to have the best results is something that always stays with you."

Dr Chan, who lives in Sherwood, in Brisbane's western suburbs, is the current President Elect for Cancer Nurses Society of Australia, the professional peak body for cancer nursing, representing close to 1000 cancer nurses across Australia.

He will take office in January 2015 as President, and is hoping to lead the profession in providing high quality care to people affected by cancer.

The 2014 QUT Outstanding Alumni of the Year winners are:

Matt Baxby, Faculty of Law

Wayne Blair, Creative Industries, Special Excellence Award for Contributions to the Creative Arts

Russell Board, Science and Engineering Faculty

Raymond Chan, Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year

Greg Creed, Outstanding Business School, Alumnus of the Year

Anna Morse, Special Excellence Award for Outstanding Leadership in Health

Tracey Vieira, Faculty of Education

Terry White AO, Faculty of Health, Special Excellence Award for Lifetime Achievement

Media contact:
Rob Kidd, QUT Media, 07 3138 1841, rj.kidd@qut.edu.au
After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901

Find more QUT news on

Media enquiries

For all media enquiries contact the QUT Media Team

+61 73138 2361

Sign up to the QUT News and Events Wrap

QUT Experts

No results were found

Before we make your booking

We just have a few questions before booking you in for a 30-minute appointment with us.

Please note that we can only call Australian phone numbers.

What option best describes you?