Denise Mills is a Master of Nursing, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, who began her nursing career over 20 years ago. She is one of those rare people with a true passion for what she does. In fact, when asked about her work, she says, “it’s a privilege to care for a child with cancer.” More than likely, it is this enthusiasm and her significant training, experience and expertise that, in 2018, led to Denise being chosen as POGO’s provincial clinical lead in pediatric oncology nursing.
Denise’s strong interest in multidisciplinary pediatric oncology education ensures the nursing perspective informs all aspects of POGO’s work in system planning, service delivery, quality improvement, education and research.
“I am proud of the work I have been able to participate in at POGO that contributes to our mission,” Denise says. “This includes partnering with Camp Oochigeas to host a retreat for pediatric oncology healthcare professionals across the province to share and learn about resilience; and bringing the nursing voice to POGO’s organizational strategy, programs and work on clinical practice guidelines as a member of POGO’s supportive care committee. I am also humbled to work closely with the POGO Interlink Nurses across Ontario who care for and support patients, and their families, throughout their cancer journey.”
Since her first introduction to POGO in the mid-1990s, Denise has been an avid member of several POGO committees and contributor to many POGO initiatives. She has been actively involved in the planning committees of several POGO multidisciplinary symposia on childhood cancer, including the 2018 Pre-Symposium Nursing Seminar, and has been a member of the POGO Board of Directors. Denise now co-chairs the POGO Nursing Committee with Brennah Holley, a nurse educator at CHEO. In 2020, the Nursing Committee presented two webinars: Supporting Children through COVID-19 and Good Grief! Fostering Healthy Grief in Ourselves and Those We Support.
Denise’s research interest is in patient/family education and she is a recipient of a POGO Seed Grant that funded her published study (2021) Improving Quality and Consistency in Family Education Prior to First Discharge Following a Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis. Denise has contributed to quality improvement and innovation projects, she sits on many prestigious committees, including the Children’s Oncology Group’s (COG) Nursing Steering Committee as the chair of the education sub-committee, and is a protocol nurse for the COG Neuroblastoma and Renal Committee. She has addressed delegates at numerous conferences, contributed countless poster presentations globally and is a member of several professional associations.
Denise Mills is seconded to POGO (two days a week) from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) where she works in the Solid Tumour, New Agents and Innovative Therapy, MIBG Program, and actively participates in leadership roles at the hospital.