Hello, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Susan, I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), and I’m the newest member of Kidney Cancer UK’s Health Care Professional team.
What made me want to become a Kidney Cancer UK Health Care Professional Nurse?
Well, I have been a nurse for over 30 years, working as a Staff Nurse through to being a urology Ward Sister. I specialised in urology oncology, obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Adult Cancer Care. I went on to work as a Urology Research Nurse at the Institute for Cancer Studies at Birmingham University where I worked on Phase 2 and Phase 3 pharmaceutical clinical trials. I was fortunate to witness a change in how kidney cancer patients were treated following the N.I.C.E. (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.. essentially the body that says what drugs we get and what we don’t get) approval of many of the drug therapy treatments we had used in our clinical trials, and they continue to be used today.
In 2008 I became a kidney cancer CNS and continued in this role until December 2021. I was responsible for providing holistic care for both patients and families from diagnosis to end of life. I guided patients through their surgical treatment options and decisions, providing post-surgery follow up, ‘Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy’ (SACT) drug counselling and toxicity management, support for patients on treatment for metastatic disease all the way through to ensuring patients had the emotional and psychological support they needed.
The role of a kidney cancer CNS is challenging and demanding. Due to other clinical commitments, it is frustrating that you are not able to support the patient as much as you would like to, which can result in gaps in care. I am also very conscious that, depending on demographics throughout the country, some patients may not have access to CNS support or experience limited access to urology cancer services. This was highlighted in the Kidney Cancer UK 2021 Patient Survey with 25% of patients saying they were not given a named CNS, less than 2% were given a support number and 46% of people felt they were not given enough information. I believe my new role as a Kidney Cancer UK Health Care Professional Nurse will allow me to network and support cancer nurse specialists, oncologist, and GP’s in raising awareness of the support Kidney Cancer UK can offer to their patients and as such releasing some of the pressure on their workload. I will be highlighting how our Health Care Professional team is here to compliment patient care by helping with questions after, and between, hospital clinic appointments. I will be able to give advice, support and listen to patients and families concerns and anxieties, along with my other nurse professional colleagues I’m here to signpost to other sources of support in the team when needed.
I’m really looking forward to bedding in as member of the great team here at Kidney Cancer UK with a vision to help improve all patient’s cancer journey experience. I’m striving to ensure that patients don’t facing their kidney cancer diagnosis alone. I‘ll share information on how to join our many social media support groups, how you can be a part of our hugely popular Zoom ‘Coffee Cake & Chat’ support groups, all enabling you to network and share your experiences with other kidney cancer patients.
I look forward to the challenges to come and to meeting and supporting you all.