Helen Stobbart explains how her role as a nursing associate fits into the wider NHS workforce and talks about her experience in getting her qualification.
My role provides to support senior members of a busy Oncology day unit who care for patients with cancer.
On a day to day basis I have my own group of patients, where I administer chemotherapies and supportive therapies, and also assess each person to ensure health and safety during their hospital treatment regimes.
Sometimes if a patient was to attend the day unit and becomes unwell I would assess them and decide a plan with senior staff support and guidance to make sure they get the right treatment and support.
It can sound a bit daunting but I do really enjoy all aspects of the job and particularly the patient contact and working within a team.
I first started doing bank shift work at Northumbria after moving to this area in 1995 and had been working in nursing homes prior to this role.
I worked on a respiratory ward for a few years and then joined the Phlebotomy services until 2008. I then started at the Oncology day unit as healthcare assistant before training as a Nursing Associate in 2017.
It was fantastic to be learning new skills, understanding medications and beginning preassessments for patients starting treatments.
The main thing I will remember from this time is all of the training experiences and attending University. This felt like an unbelievable challenge for me, because I am a little older than most of the students that attended the course, but I was so pleased when I attended the Graduation celebrations at the end.
I will also remember the help and support I received from colleagues, patients and their relatives and family members who had faith in me to complete the course.
The biggest challenge at the moment is dealing with the covid-19 pandemic while ensuring we can see patients with cancer and delivering chemotherapy safely and professionally.
The biggest change is that we no longer have relatives in the unit with our patients and have to screen every patient that comes through the doors to reduce the risk of covid-19.