Base: Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
My clinical experience, clinical skills and management experience has been solely within Head and Neck and Thyroid Cancers. I began my qualified nursing career in 1987 on an ENT/Head and Neck surgical ward and have worked within the speciality since then. I have been in my current position as clinical nurse specialist since 2002, expanding my knowledge to support patients requiring various treatment modalities such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endocrine therapy and biological therapies.
My main areas of patient focus within my current role are supporting the patient and their family through their treatment and to help them manage the short and long term side effects that are caused by the treatment.
The best parts of my role are working collaboratively with the wider MDT team and supporting patients through some of the most life changing treatment on offer.
My specialist role also involves teaching at undergraduate and graduate level. I am involved in Research and Audit within the MDT.
I have been a member of BAHNON since it begun and have been a committee member for the last 4 years. I enjoy my role on the committee as it allows me to influence how Head and Neck cancer is viewed within the NHS, to support other nurses and AHP’s in the Head and Neck field and to network with my colleagues across the UK.
– MSc Advanced Clinical Practice
– BSc Nursing
– Advanced Communication Skills
– Non-medical Prescriber
– Counseling Skills
– ENB 998, 237
Base: Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, E&N Hertfordshire NHS Trust
I have now been working with Head and Neck patients for almost 14 years. I qualified in 1998 and quickly moved into Head and Neck and was ward manager on the surgical unit for several years. My current role is based within the cancer centre but includes me covering the clinic in the DGH so I benefit from working with both the oncologists and the surgeons.
I do find Head and Neck patients both challenging and rewarding. I particularly enjoy supporting patients from diagnosis through their treatment pathway and beyond. As a team we are quite proactive in implementing the Recovery package and provide a well evaluated post treatment workshop for our patients. Over the last 18 months, I have been focusing on skin care during radiotherapy and have managed to change our practice from historically used dressings to research based ones. I have also rewritten the skin care guidelines for the cancer centre. I have published my evaluation in the oncology section of the BJN and presented this work internationally in wound care conferences.
I became a Bahnon Committee member almost 4 years ago and I have now been chair for the last 14 months. I joined the committee as I believe in what Bahonn stands for. We all work in pressured, busy environments and I believe as a national committee we put forward the voice of our speciality.
Membership Database Secretary
Base: CNS, Worcester Royal Hospital
I have now been within my current role for the past 12 months working across the specialities but my previous roles have included Macmillan CNS working with Head and Neck patients for almost 10 years. I qualified in 1994 and my first job was as a staff nurse in head and neck in Boston Lincolnshire moving within head and neck to Cheltenham and then onto Worcester where I eventually became the CNS for the service.
My current role covers the whole county of Worcestershire and also has built within it a clinical day which is back in Head and Neck Oncology.
I do find my new job both challenging and rewarding, but I love returning to my clinical day home to my roots. Over the 10years I was the CNS in Worcester the team supporting Head and Neck cancer patients has grown with the addition of a further CNS, dieticians whose job plan is all around head and neck speech and language therapists and also a dedicated 3 day a week counsellor.
I became a BAHNON Committee member 8 years ago and I have now been the database manager for the past 2 years. I joined the committee to help to standardise the care head and neck patients receive across the country and I believe that is what BAHNON can do.
Chair & Treasurer
Base: East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust
Sarah is the Macmillan Cancer Lead Nurse for East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust. She is responsible for strategic development of cancer services across the Trust working closely with the STP, CCGs and Cancer Alliances.
Prior to this role Sarah worked in H&N Cancer as a CNS for many years in two major London Trusts. She has extensive experience of all aspects of H&N cancer and has led on a number of service developments, including establishing the first truly MDT pre-treatment clinics. Sarah is a regular presenter/speaker at conferences and has written articles and comment pieces for the nursing press. Her passions are patient experience and patient advocacy. She believes that we are privileged as nurses to be able to work with and care for people at their most vulnerable.
Sarah led on Peer review and acted as a peer reviewer for many years. She has also established nationally recognised services for head and neck cancer patients, regularly presents at conferences, and teaches on the MSc Oncology course as well as on BDA study days. Sarah sits on the Cancer Nursing Partnership editorial committee, was a member of the NICE guidance group that produced the latest guidance in CUADT and a specialist committee member of the subsequent NICE Quality Standards.
Sarah has been a member of the BAHNON committee since 2007.
Base: Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board
I have now been within my current role for the past 16 years working within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. I qualified in 1995 and my first job was as a staff nurse in the ENT ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. It was whilst in that job that I noticed the need for a CNS to support the Head & Neck Cancer patients who attended there. I went on to further my education by completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Cancer Nursing and began developing the Head & Neck CNS service at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
In May 2002 this post was established and we now have 1.4 whole time equivalent nurses allocated to the Clyde Head & Neck CNS service. Our service merged with the New Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in May 2015 and this provided some challenges for us all but has helped us shape a fantastic team and excellent service for our patient group.
As well as completing counselling, communication skills, nurse prescribing and patient examination courses I have also taught on the Head & Neck Cancer Module at the University of the West of Scotland. These courses as well as helping with the development of policies, guidelines and patient information have kept me busy and focused on improving patient care. Throughout the years I have found my job both challenging and rewarding.
I became a BAHNON Committee member in December 2013 and I am the website manager with all the challenges it has thrown up over the past couple of years. I joined the committee to help to standardise the care head and neck patients receive across the country and I believe that is what BAHNON can do.
When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my family, keeping fit and cooking.
Base: Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton
I am a head and neck CNS in Taunton, Somerset. I started my nursing career in 1994 on an ENT ward where I thought I would just ‘get a few months experience’ little did I know that this is where I would stay and progress. As a junior sister I felt frustrated with the inability to provide a better service for the cancer patient and sought to set up a CNS post at Taunton.
I ‘invited’ myself along to the South West regional BAHNON group meetings and spent time with individual CNS’s until a post came up at Taunton.
Since its development in 2002 there have been some major changes to our service providing cover at 1.6 wte and I now joint lead the MDT with one of our Consultants. I am an occasional lecturer with the University of West of England (UWE) on the head and neck cancer module and am treasurer for the South West BAHNON group, which I have done for many years.
I joined the national committee in the summer 2016 so am a new face on the block. BAHNON has helped me build and continue building my service through networking, study and sharing good practice. I hope to continue this in my committee member role at national level.
Phone: 01234 792209
I qualified as a registered nurse from University of Northampton in July of 2002 and began working as a staff nurse on the head and neck unit at Northampton General Hospital almost immediately. I had been placed on this unit as a second-year student nurse and knew within days that I loved the specialty and the patients that we cared for.
Within six months of qualifying, I moved to Birmingham with my partner and looked for a similar position but was only able to find a post on a vascular surgery ward that also was a medical orthopaedic rehab ward at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfied. I found that I missed the head and neck patients and set out to work within the specialty again by initially working at the ophthalmology outpatient department at Selly Oak Hospital and then working on the head and neck unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Within another year I had moved back to Northampton and their head and neck ward there before moving to a band 6 position in infection control and then to a nurse advisor post for Ashfield In2Focus.
I had heard from colleagues at Ashfield that a new head and neck CNS post was being set up in Bedford and I was amazed when I was firstly given an interview and then the full-time position.
Over seven years on and I still love this job every day! I set the service up from nothing and as my post is 60:40 split funding between the acute trust and community I spend my days either seeing patients in the clinics, wards, at home or any other primary care setting. I hadbeen fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to complete my degree and I am now undertaking my MSc in advanced clinical practice. With the help of my colleagues within our cancer network, I offer patients a full recovery package here with my aim to continue working with Macmillan to form a local buddying scheme. I am grateful to be offered a position working as a BAHNON committee member to be able to further network sharing good practice and ensuring that my patients receive the best possible level of service.
Base: Northwick Park Hospital
I have worked at Northwick Park hospital in surgery since 1992, across all levels of the nursing establishment. I joined the Macmillan team as an oncology CNS in 2001 and then in 2004 became the first head and neck CNS. I have recently been promoted in to the lead nurse role for head and neck. I have an excellent understanding and insight in to the patient’s pathway and support patients from the point of diagnosis.
My previous management and leadership experience as a ward manger of a head and neck and urology surgical unit and out-patients’, together with the team leader experience that I gained as a CNS has been invaluable. It has provided me with the skills, practical experience and confidence to take on this role. I have managed staff at all levels and led an extremely dynamic and challenging unit. I also believe that my experience would allow me to support and contribute to the committee.
I have personal experience of Peer Review following an invitation to perform an external peer review of the head and neck cancer services in Doha (Qatar). The review took place in February 2015 and was part of the National Program of Cancer Peer Review. This valuable experience provided me with an insight and experience in the process as a reviewer. I have also had participation in local peer review process
I am currently contributing to the London Cancer Alliance (LCA) Head and Neck Nursing project. Focusing on head and neck specialist nursing, it will explore complex work loads and identify resources required to deliver high quality, efficient care.
I am a very experienced, confident and dedicated surgical head and neck CNS with a wealth of experience and knowledge who is working in a Regional Head and Neck unit. I value the opportunity of being part of the committee and feel strongly that I contribute well to this group.
Base: Velindre Cancer Centre
After having worked as a chemotherapy nurse with many head and neck cancer patients for a number of years, I currently work as the National Macmillan Thyroid Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist.
I support thyroid cancer patients in South East Wales from diagnosis onwards, including running a telephone review clinic for low risk patients. I also provide a ‘virtual’ CNS service to patients in two English cancer centres by phone and email.
Other elements of my role are building up the network between all thyroid cancer CNSs so we can share information and good practice as well as educational material. I have taught at nurses’ conferences, supported individual colleagues with specific queries and have co-authored a chapter on thyroid cancer for a textbook for endocrinology nurses. Another important part of my role is being involved in the standardisation of current patient information material and in the development of new material which advises on the recent changes in the treatment of thyroid cancer. An amazingly varied and enjoyable role!
I became a member of the BAHNON committee in late 2017 and am excited to be part of this organisation as a thyroid cancer CNS.
Website Editor & Engagement Officer
Base: Northampton & Kettering General Hospitals, Northamptonshire
I fell in love with the Head and Neck Speciality back in 2004 when I was introduced to this complex and fascinating service as a student nurse studying at Northampton University. In 2007, I qualified and proudly took on my first position as a Head and Neck staff nurse at Northampton General Hospital on the dedicated Head and Neck ward. Later, in my nursing career, I joined a small team of nurses providing end of life care for patients in their own homes in Northamptonshire. Together with the years spent on the Head and Neck ward and time as a Hospice at Home Nurse, these two special roles undoubtedly helped to shape me into the professional I am today.
Having been a Macmillan Head and Neck Clinical Nurse Specialist for the last 5 years and now 11 years on from qualifying, my passion for this challenging and multifaceted complex tumour group continues to grow; particularly supporting those patients undergoing visually and anatomically life-changing surgical procedures and managing the acute toxicities and long-term effects of radical chemoradiotherapy. I can honestly say that I continuously love my time within this service, no two days are the same and I am certain that the complexity of patients continues to increase every year!
I have a keen interest in improving patient experience, pathways and thus streamlining services in line with National Directives. This month I have taken on a new challenge in helping to drive forward the 2015-2020 Cancer Taskforce Strategy and embed the Recovery Package into the county of Northamptonshire. By becoming the Macmillan Cancer Recovery Package Facilitator; having extensive expertise and on-going invested interest in Head and Neck Cancer Care my focus for the committee will be focusing on embedding the 4 elements of the Recovery Package, whilst sharing experiences, pilots and ideas with you all. I am keen to get all our BAHNON members networking, sharing ideas and experiences and will, therefore, set up a social forum website to get us all interacting more. I would be keen to hear from any of you with new and exciting nurse-led services if you are willing to publish a ‘day in the life of….’ on our website and helping us to build our international links with other countries.
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