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19 November 2020

Cancer nurses reach finals in prestigious nursing awards

The compassion and commitment of cancer nurses at Weston Park Cancer Centre has been recognised after they were named as finalists in three national awards for their support of young cancer patients at the end of life.

The teenage and young adult cancer team who are based at Weston Park Cancer Centre, which is part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have said the recognition shows the importance of the service they offer.

The team provide end of life care for 16 to 25-year-olds right across the region but in the absence of national guidance, over the years, they have worked tirelessly to build relationships between child and adult health and social care services – coordinating up to 11 different teams - so young cancer patients can spend their final weeks with those they love, in the place they feel most comfortable.

Weston Park Cancer Centre’s teenage and young adult cancer service received a nomination for the Nursing Times Awards for Team of the Year, Cancer Nursing and the Children’s Services Award at the virtual ceremony held on Wednesday 18 November 2020. Their work was chosen from hundreds of entries submitted from NHS organisations across the country.

Claire Pendlebury, Teenage Cancer Trust Lead Nurse who is based at Weston Park Cancer Centre, a specialist cancer centre for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw region, said: “It is a real privilege to support young cancer patients and their families during this time, and we’re very pleased to know that the work we do has been recognised in this way.

“Teenagers and young adults are a resilient and unpredictable bunch and they have healthcare needs that reflect that. They have distinct physical and emotional needs, their medication requirements are different and there is no one size fits all approach. The role of a teenage and young adult cancer nurse, as someone who understand all these intricacies, is extremely important.”

On average, around 60 young people in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw are diagnosed with cancer every year and sadly a small number of those do not recover from that diagnosis. Nurses like Claire offer specialist nursing and practical and emotional support from the day they receive the news they have cancer. They, alongside other healthcare professionals, also support the family as best they can to ensure that at the end of life, any final wishes are respected.

“Thankfully cancer and palliative care in this age group is rare,” said Claire.

“But because of this, and coupled by challenges on services more broadly, it is difficult to establish a generic pathway that can be followed for each individual patient.

“We know that with determination, commitment and partnership from across the health and social care system, that we can support young people and their families during some of the toughest times of their lives. It’s unpredictable, and no young person’s situation is the same, but what’s important is that families get to come together, to focus on themselves and the needs of the young person and as healthcare professionals, we will continue to do all we can to ensure this happens.”

Dr Jackie Martin, Clinical Director and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Weston Park Cancer Centre, said: “We are incredibly proud of our teenage and young adult cancer oncology team for reaching the finals in the prestigious Nursing Times Awards. Meeting the particular requirements of this patient group is vital, and through this pathway of care our team have ensured that child and adult health and social care services are brought together to support the wishes and needs of teenagers and young adult cancer patients at the end of their life.”

The teenage and young adult cancer service is now working on a five-year strategy that they hope will be used as the basis of national guidance on palliative and end of life care for teenagers and young adults.



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