Friday 7th September 2012
In post Since February 2010
Location James Cook University Hospital, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Contact Email Wendy
What does your role involve?
I provide clinical expertise, advice and nursing leadership to develop, promote and coordinate a multiprofessional chemotherapy service. This includes the delivery of chemotherapy, care of patients experiencing complications from such treatments, and a 50% clinical workload. The chemotherapy service has around 10,000 patient attendances each year.
Tell us about the joint nurse and pharmacist-led clinics.
I introduced these clinics for people receiving chemotherapy for urology or colorectal cancers, and they have been well-received. They are beneficial for the patients because they get direct access to a medicines expert, continuity of care and a key contact for problems and advice.
The clinics have also improved waiting times, increased capacity in oncology clinics, contributed to role development, and improved team working and job satisfaction.
What other service developments have you led?
Prior to 2010, the amount of chemotherapy drugs wasted was in excess of in excess of £8,000 a month. In a project led by myself, we have been able to reduce that waste to around £200 a month through several different initiatives.
These included: increasing staff awareness of the waste issue; asking prescribers to account for wastage of high cost items (£800 or above); implementing a more effective system for obtaining and acting on results of bloods taken prior to treatments; and providing more guidance and training for clinicians on the prescribing and management system. We also used telemedicine to check each patient’s fitness and willingness to proceed on the allotted day. A waste reduction culture is now embedded into the service and we celebrated this success.
And you have also standardised policies and procedures?
The Trust now has one anti-cancer medicines policy for both malignant and non-malignant chemotherapy delivery. The aim of this is to support the delivery of high-quality, evidence based care, and minimise the risks associated with the delivery of cytotoxic chemotherapy and other anti-cancer medicines to patients. The policy also addresses the governance issues associated with chemotherapy delivery, such as ensuring compliance with safety updates and alerts.
What is your experience of using electronic prescribing?
I have used electronic prescribing for chemotherapy since I came into post. It has improved patient safety and complies with cancer peer review measures. Mistakes and misunderstanding are less frequent.
What are the biggest challenges of the role?
Caring for patients when they have a recurrence can be difficult, especially when you have built up a relationship with them and their relatives. Keeping cancer and chemotherapy on the agenda alongside other priorities in healthcare is also an ongoing challenge.
What is your greatest success?
Personally, my greatest success has been ensuring continuity of care for my patients. I have received positive feedback from many patients and relatives, and this aspect of my service has been well-evaluated.
How would you like the service to develop?
I would like to ensure the Trust consolidates and continues to develop as a specialist treatment provider of high-quality, patient focused care. I want the Trust to become known as an employer of choice for chemotherapy and oncology expertise in nursing.
Why did you go into cancer care?
My interest started early on when I was working as a staff nurse on a general ward with some patients being treated for cancer. I really enjoyed caring for them and when a job came up to care for these patients in a specialist role, I applied and was lucky enough to get it.
Who inspires you?
There’s no one individual, but I have a husband, son, many patients and several friends and work colleagues who are pretty amazing. I draw on their positive aspects. They are vibrant, energetic, make positive things happen, and are not afraid to take risks and rise to a challenge.
What’s the most unusual job you’ve had?
Well, I was a chef before I became a nurse. But the most unusual part of my current job was learning how to curtsey properly. This was in preparation for being introduced to Princess Alexandra, who opened the new chemotherapy and radiotherapy centre at the hospital earlier this year.