A day in the life of our Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist…

Working at KIMS Hospital, I love being a Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist and  feel privileged to help people at one of the most vulnerable times of their life, through a journey that can sometimes only be described as a ‘crisis’. Everyone has a different journey and it astounds me every day to see how my patients cope and what keeps them going. They truly inspire me.

Not many people know this about me but in 2011 I took part in the celebrations of ‘100 years of Macmillan’ hosted by Graham Norton. This involved dancing on the stage of the London Palladium at The Macmillan Centenary Gala in front of over 2000 people and celebrities. It was a great experience, with Macmillan professionals from all over the country who had come together to perform on stage and show how proud they are of the work they do every day. 

I haven’t always been a Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist or always been based in a hospital. I have been fortunate to experience a number of different roles during my career; I have worked in surgery, in emergency medicine in an A&E department, on an Oncology radiotherapy ward eventually administering chemotherapy. I have provided palliative care for patients at the Wisdom Hospice and worked for Marie Curie visiting patients at home providing them with care and support.

Sadly, my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer and as I supported her through her own cancer journey, I was inspired to go back to university and study for a degree in Cancer Care.  I followed this with a Masters in Supportive and Palliative Care and have used this training whilst working as a Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist at KIMS Hospital.

As a Breast Care Nurse at KIMS Hospital, my role is varied but my main focus is always to ensure our patients receive the support and care they need. On a typical Breast Clinic day at KIMS Hospital, I usually start my day in the office, making phone calls to patients. I contact patients who have recently had surgery to check how they are feeling and if they have any questions. I also call patients that have recently had a diagnosis to see if they need any further information and I arrange an appointment for them to come back into the hospital to see me so we can reflect on their appointment where they received their diagnosis. During this appointment, I will talk them through their options for surgery, other treatments, Macmillan funding/ grants, bras, and wigs.

After all the phone calls have been made, I will then setup the clinic. This involves checking everything is ready for the patients and that test results have been received and uploaded onto the hospital system. I will then spend some time with the Consultant before the patient arrives to discuss the notes we already have on the patient. This ensures that everyone has an understanding of the symptoms the patient may be experiencing.

During the Breast Clinic appointment, I attend the consultation with the patient so that I can listen to what is discussed. These appointments can be daunting and the patient does not always remember or understand what the Consultant is saying. I am there as a second set of ears, so I can answer any questions the patient may have after they have left the hospital and during the follow-up appointment. If any further tests are required on the day, I will take the patient to these to reassure them and answer any questions they may have.

After the patient has had all of the relevant tests required, they will meet with the Consultant again to talk about the results. Some tests such as a biopsy have to be sent away for further testing so a definitive diagnosis cannot be made until these results are received. But the patient knows that I am their point of contact from now on and I will be with them every step of the way no matter what the diagnosis is.

For more information on the Breast Clinic at KIMS Hospital, please click here.