International Nurses Day
Friday, 12th May marks International Nurses Day, a chance to celebrate and thank all of the incredible work nurses do. Lung cancer nurse specialists provide an invaluable service to their patients, offering a combination of medical advice, information and support. Having someone who understands the process the patients are going through, being there to talk through any concerns as well as just offering their time for whatever the patient needs gives a great deal of comfort.
Nicki Maddock is a lung cancer nurse specialist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital as well running Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation's latest support group in Liverpool. We spoke to her to find out a little bit more about what she does and her experiences working with lung cancer patients.
I’ve always enjoyed working with people. Knowing that you are making a difference to someone’s life during a traumatic time, and providing that bit of comfort that people need can be extremely rewarding.
I started off my career as a Community Nurse, spending a lot of time giving support, advice and nursing care to cancer patients and their families. In 2013 I was lucky enough to move jobs and start working at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital as a Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist. It meant using a lot of skills I had previously used in dealing with cancer patients. The main role is to support a patient through their journey, whatever that journey may be. It can be an emotional time, so often it’s just a case of offering time and listening to the patient.
I work with a brilliant team of consultants, radiologists and other nurses to make sure that patients are diagnosed and treated in the most appropriate manner. Although lung cancer research is underfunded compared to other forms of cancers, we continuously looks for ways to improve the patient experience and find more effective ways of diagnosing patients.
Research and Developments
Even though lung cancer is not talked about enough in the news or in general, it’s been amazing to see the advancements in treatments of patients in the four years I’ve been in the job. It takes a great deal of work for any advancements, from research carried out by Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation into the building blocks of lung cancer to pharmaceutical companies who can they use this research to develop new drugs. I only hope this good work continues, and if greater funding was available this would only get better quicker.
For me, the patients are at the heart of everything I do. Whether this is listening, giving information and reassurance or co-ordinating tests, the main priority is the patient, who can often feel overwhelmed by it all. This is what I love doing, and even though there are many hard aspects to the job it is something I am extremely passionate about and dedicated to.
Having worked with lung cancer patients for a while now I have seen the importance of the support we give and how much it is welcomed at this difficult period of people’s lives. Because of this I recently decided to set up a support group in Liverpool held monthly to all lung cancer patients and their families or carers. I want to be able to offer advice along with staff from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, and also create an opportunity for patients to gain support from others affected by the disease. Being able to speak to other people who are in a similar position to you can be a hugely beneficial tool to have.
I am extremely proud and fortunate to be part of a team that is committed to improving the overall patient experience. With support, we can continue to make a positive contribution and make a difference to lung cancer patients.