Nurse Karen starts a cancer support staff network following cancer diagnosis in 2018 to help staff live and work well with cancer
Karen Hutton, Clinical Lead Home Safe shares her experience of cancer treatment during the pandemic and her hopes for a new Cancer Support Staff Network at the Trust.
I’ve worked in the NHS for nearly 20 years as a registered nurse, both within community and hospitals in a variety of roles and now specialise in palliative care.
I was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and during the COVID-19 pandemic and lock downs I had chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Despite working with lots of patients having chemotherapy in the past I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect during such unprecedented times.
Although the hospital chemotherapy team were fantastic and I had great support from colleagues and managers, for me, my experience was quite lonely. This was due to the restrictions during the pandemic which meant there was little interaction with others having treatment and I felt a bit out on a limb.
I remember thinking at the time it would be really positive to get together with others to listen to how cancer has affected them, share experiences, coping strategies and how to live well with cancer.
Many of our staff are living and working with a cancer diagnosis either in active treatment, in remission or are now cancer free. From my experiences and talking to others I starting thinking about setting up a staff network for staff living with cancer.
I felt that it was important to provide a peer support network with other like-minded people to enable staff to live and work well with their diagnosis. Whilst it is aimed at staff with a current or past diagnosis, you do not need to have one to join, you might have friends or families going through a cancer journey or have a specialised interest in it.
Staff networks have a great potential to shape the culture and behaviours of our Trust. I hope that by gathering the ideas, passion and knowledge of our staff, our new Cancer Support Staff Network can help staff on their cancer journey and managers to improve support.
For details of our cancer services for patients click here