Local Cancer Nurse tells of tough year

Marianne Oswell, a Clinical Nurse Specialist – Metastatic Breast Cancer, at Royal Hampshire County Hospital

It’s been a tough year for nurses and to mark International Nurses Day (12 May) and European Cancer Nursing Day (18 May), Marianne Oswell, a Clinical Nurse Specialist – Metastatic Breast Cancer,  who is based at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester – has sent us a personal insight into what it’s been like on the front line in cancer treatment.

Says Marianne:

“It has been really hard not being able to see our patients face to face over this past year. Having that personal contact is so important and we have really missed our patients and are hopeful that we can return to our normal clinics moving forward. I think it will take time and confidence to resume services to as they were pre pandemic and currently the Trust is rightly being cautious. We have a period of readjustment to go through and then we can start to re-build a brighter future for cancer services.”

“During a tough year the humour, resilience and determination of my colleagues to keep services going in the face of adversity makes me very proud and has kept me going. The patients had no idea about how or where we were running clinics from and having to adapt on a daily basis although tiring and often frustrating, did allow me more autonomy and helped me to establish my service. It also developed my instincts and intuition as I got to know patient’s voices very well and often recognised from that alone when things were not so good.”

The role of clinical nurse specialists for cancer patients is critical and this has proved even more so during the pandemic. As the patient’s key contact, they are in a unique position to offer clear information and signposting to services.

Macmillan Partnership Manager for Hampshire, Sinead Parry, adds:

“We are so grateful to all nurses working everywhere for the care, compassion and sheer professionalism they have shown in coping with the additional pressures brought about by the pandemic. At Macmillan we are doing whatever it takes to support our nurses as well as patients and the goodwill and support of the public will help us to achieve that goal.”