It’s National Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Day today, Tuesday 15 March, and we’ll be taking a look at some of our specialist teams and the work they do.
If you are already a nurse or are considering a career in nursing you can explore the prospect of becoming a Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Registered nurses may find resources on the Royal College of Nursing website here helpful; https://www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/nursing-careers-resource/registered-nurses#movingoninaclinicalrole
While those considering adult nursing as a starting point to a career in the field may find information on the Health Careers website here useful; https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/we-are-the-nhs/nursing-careers
Lung Cancer Nurses
Lung Cancer Nurses have expert knowledge and experience in lung cancer. Our nurses are part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) which include Lung Physicians, Radiologists, Oncologists and an MDT coordinator. As specialist nurses they work with the MDT to provide clinical expertise, information and support to patients and their families undergoing investigations and treatment for lung cancer.
Specialist nurses are involved in coordinating and liaising with the multidisciplinary team at each stage of the patient’s journey. They act as a key worker providing patients with a point of contact, offering emotional advice and support for you, your family or carers, discussing any concerns and answering questions you may have about your treatment.
UGI / HPB Cancer Nursing team
Jo Giles and Tracey Noakes are our Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI)/ Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Cancer Nurses and they care for patients who are newly diagnosed with cancers of the Oesophagus, Stomach, Duodenum, Pancreas, Biliary system and Liver.
They aim to be a key worker and to support patients as they navigate the pathway from suspected cancer through to confirmation of diagnosis and on to treatment and beyond.
They are available for support, information and specialist clinical advice and symptom control and work very closely with the hospital gastroenterologists, oncologists and patient pathway coordinators. Jo and Tracey liaise with many other healthcare professionals including dietitians, our Specialist Palliative Care Team, oncology nurses, GPs and endoscopy colleagues to provide the best possible care and service for our patients at a very difficult time.
Patients tell us that having a single point of contact for support and signposting can be very helpful and takes the worry out of knowing who to call when.
When COVID hit a nurse-led triage system was implemented to look at all the upper GI two-week wait referrals to ensure that the patients were appropriately referred and underwent the right investigation for their symptoms in the right place at the right time.
This was very successful, freeing up medical staff time and reducing the number of appointments that were not attended and inappropriate attendance at Endoscopy. This nurse-led triage is continuing. Jo and Tracey are able to identify patients for whom direct to test endoscopy isn’t suitable, ensuring that have a clinic appointment or a more appropriate investigation.
Following the introduction of the nurse-led triage, a patient survey was carried out to assess the benefits to patients; and we had an excellent response rate and very positive feedback.
The team are able to arrange urgent admission for procedures such as Oesophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy, oesophageal stent insertion and abdominal paracentesis. They are able to request bloods and have also undertaken training to request staging CT scans as necessary.
UGI / HPB Cancer Nursing team identify and refer appropriate patients to clinical research trials and liaise with trials team colleagues. They take part in appropriate audits including the National audit of Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer and last year we took part in a national audit looking at the benefit of the Edinburgh Dysphagia Score (a tool to aid diagnosis) in prioritising those patients with suspected oesophageal cancer.
They are currently undertaking a national audit of patients whose oesophageal/gastric cancer is diagnosed as a result of emergency admission as opposed to via a two-week wait referral.
The Uro-Oncology nursing team at the JPUH provides specialist nursing support to all patients diagnosed with the five main urological cancers; Prostate, Bladder, Testis, Renal and Penile. Patients diagnosed with adrenal cancer are also supported.
The team is part of the Norfolk and Waveney Specialist Urology Services working in collaboration with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn.
The service has recently expanded its nursing workforce in order to develop urological services in line with current cancer initiatives.
The main developments focus on one stop clinics for patents with suspected bladder and prostate cancer.
The one stop clinic for patients with suspected bladder cancer is established and the team is proactive in gaining prospective patients experience of the service as well as collecting data on compliance with the Faster Diagnosis Standard. This work aims to provide evidence to support development of additional clinics so more patients can benefit from the fast track service.
Plans are in place to imminently roll out prostate one stop clinics with the nursing team at the centre of appropriate triage of patients as well as providing patient support and timely coordination of their ongoing care.
Nurse-led clinics are set up for bladder instillation treatment and future plans are in place for nurse-led personalised stratified follow up for patients with prostate cancer.
The nursing team supports both surgical and oncology clinics to provide continuity and a seamless approach to patients care.
The team of Uro-Oncology nurses actively engage in supporting health promotion and cancer awareness campaigns, recently taking part in the Prostate Cancer UK charity Run a Marathon in a month event raising £1,710.
Our Gynae-oncology CNS service facilitates the cancer pathway from referral through to timely cancer exclusion or diagnosis, and then onwards into treatment, surveillance and discharge.
They aim to offer support and information, to address concerns and to answer questions whilst building a trusting relationship with patients and their families. They also offer advice, guidance and specialist information to their professional colleagues.
Their mission statement as a service is ‘to be accessible, open, knowledgeable, and professional in our ability to deliver a high quality service at all times’.
Our photo shows CNS Sarah Hipperson and Gynae Oncology Nursing sisters; Nella Wright and Maria Harvey.
Breast Care Nurses
Our team of specialist Breast Care Nurses (also known as Key Workers) are there to provide continuity of care for women and men with breast cancer.
Your breast care nurse is available to offer emotional support, guidance and information for you and your family.
Their role is to help you understand your treatments, and to be a point of contact if you are concerned about any aspect of your care or treatment.
In addition to supporting breast patients in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, the BCNs also provide a wealth of information about a variety of breast conditions and can advise on non-clinical matters including financial advice following cancer diagnosis.
The BCNs also lead on the new Patient Centred Follow Up pathway, which supports patients with early breast cancer to monitor their own health following their breast cancer treatment, in order to minimise the need for hospital appointments and to reduce anxiety.
The BCNs also have specialist interests including family history clinics and breast reconstruction, and work closely with their colleagues in the prosthetics department and lymphoedema clinic, to provide a comprehensive service for our local population.