Text: Erik Freudenreich
Photo: Eric Déroze

Mirjam Kleiner

She has recently been named a leading breast health care expert for all of Switzerland, in what comes as esteemed recognition for this specialist nurse from the CHUV Breast Health Care Centre.


Born with a vocation

Mirjam Kleiner was born on 17 March 1971 in Bern. A happy and curious child, she grew up in a loving family and enjoyed talking to others from a young age. By the time she was 8, she knew she wanted to become a nurse. In 1988, after one year of professional schooling, she worked as a trainee nurse’s assistant in Cully. This experience confirmed her interest in following this path.


From Florence to Lausanne

At age 18, Mirjam left for Florence to learn Italian. She paid for her studies by working as an au pair. After she completed nursing school, she began her career in the profession in 1993 at the Hôpital de Lavaux. She took this opportunity to improve her French and develop her patient care skills in the medicine and surgery services and in the recovery room.


Oncology and volunteering

She then worked in the Oncology Department at the Clinique de la Source in Lausanne. In 2001, the young professional began training as a clinical nurse with an emphasis in oncology. At the same time, she and a colleague organised, on a voluntary basis, the educational and support group “Learning to live with cancer”, for both patients and their families.


Return to work with patients

Mirjam joined the CHUV’s Oncology Outpatient Department in 2008 after two years at the Clinique Cecil in Lausanne and one year as head of education for oncology training at a school in Lausanne. This career move was motivated by her desire to be in contact with patients. She joined the Breast Health Care Centre in 2016. This interdisciplinary unit supports patients and their families throughout the care pathway, from diagnosis to post-treatment follow-up. She prefers referring to “bio-psycho-social” consultation to the term “breast health care”.


Bringing technical and relational care into harmony

Her efforts to align technical care with patient relations led her to get a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in psycho-oncology at the University of Lausanne, which she obtained in 2021. This was an opportunity to round out her skills in patient support. A few months ago, Mirjam Kleiner was also appointed leading breast health care expert for all of Switzerland by the Swiss Cancer League committee. This esteemed recognition encourages her to pursue her commitment with humility and empathy.



“You never stop learning. It’s what makes life exciting!”