Tuesday 29th September 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Autumn 2015
Sally Swain has worked in the urology department at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for 14 years and is now a Macmillan assistant practitioner
As Macmillan urology assistant practitioner, I support the urology clinical nurse specialist (CNS), consultants and multidisciplinary team (MDT) to deliver a high and safe standard of care.
I have worked at our trust for 19 years. During that time, I've spent 14 years in the urology department. Initially, I worked on the ward area, supporting trained nurses to meet patient needs. I took a keen interest in furthering my urology knowledge and so started my foundation degree in 2006. Although it was an emergency and high-dependency pathway course, most of the assignments and research were based around care of the urology patient and urological pathways.
Six years ago, the urology ward was going through a big transition and a gap existed in the care of patients going through trial without catheter. I suggested to my ward manager, line manager and the urology consultants that I should implement and manage a dedicated trial without catheter clinic. I am still running this clinic today, educating patients and their relatives on how to use any equipment they need. Many of these people have a urological cancer. In addition, I run a support group for all urological cancers; numbers are low at this time, but gradually improving.
Supporting the cancer care team
Part of my job is to arrange appointments and procedures for consultants and the CNS, as well as for my own clinic. I also attend weekly MDT meetings, arranging any appropriate follow-up or treatments, and liaise with other hospitals regarding ongoing referrals for our patients.
Another aspect of the role is ordering and making up cancer information packs, which I am able to discuss with patients, helping them to better understand their condition. I offer phone support to patients and relatives and give them information and reassurance about their needs, according to their cancer care plan and local and national policies.
I assist in data collection and audit, inputting data into the Somerset cancer register. I am responsible for our British Association of Urology Surgeons audit on nephrectomy (removal of the kidney). I also help to educate other staff. Along with the CNS, I am currently arranging a teaching session about catheter care and problems associated with catheters for the trust.
Identifying problems early
Because I understand the steps of the 18-week pathway for each urological cancer, I feel this benefits patients as I can educate them as to where they are on their journey.
My experience and knowledge of urological cancers enables me to identify problems early. I can take measures to ensure patients receive the right advice and this can sometimes reduce the need for a hospital admission. At the same time, being aware of my own limitations is important. I am not afraid to seek advice and support from the CNS or other members of the MDT and urology department.
I already have an established role within the team and would love the opportunity to further develop the role as the service needs. Recently, I completed a course allowing me to assist as a scrub nurse in a fast-track clinic for suspected bladder cancers.
Macmillan Urology Assistant Practitioner
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
01922 721172 ext 7825