Meet Jennifer Gorrie, a Cancer Information Nurse Specialist who works on the Macmillan Support Line to help people when they really need it.
Being there for people when they need us
Having been in cancer nursing for 14 years, when I first started working on the support line I thought I’d miss the face to face contact with patients. But after seven years in post I still love my job. I have the opportunity to give people the support they need at a difficult time in their lives.
People phone the support line for many different reasons. I get lots of calls from people struggling to understand the complex information they’ve received. Questions about coping with symptoms or the side effects of treatment are common. Often people need to make difficult decisions and need support to feel fully informed to do so.
And it’s not just people with cancer who call us – around half our calls come from family members and friends who may need help understanding medical information and how to support their loved one.
Cancer can have a huge effect on your emotions. I need to have excellent communication and listening skills in order to support them in finding a way to cope.
I also answer email enquiries to the service. These can be complex questions and can require time both in searching for the appropriate information but also relaying this in a way that individuals can understand, in an empathic way. We also have a Facebook page and nurses are regularly dealing with these enquiries.
‘Part of a great team’
I work within a fantastic team of experienced nurses with backgrounds in both acute cancer nursing and palliative care backgrounds. The nurse team has grown considerably over the last few years to 28 nurses over two sites in London and Glasgow and it’s a really supportive environment to work in. We also have a Welfare Rights team and a Financial Guidance Service.
As cancer is such a rapidly evolving field, it’s so important to stay up to date. Macmillan has supported my learning so I’ve been able to develop a high level of skill and knowledge.
The most rewarding aspect of my role is the knowledge that the conversation I’ve had with someone may have made a difference. I know that being knowledgeable about their illness and treatment can give people a sense of control back and reduce anxiety. But talking things through and exploring feelings can be so helpful. I’m so glad I can be there for them.
Get expert advice from people like Jennifer by calling
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