I trained as a Psychiatric Nurse in the 80s and then worked for over 20 years in the NHS in a number of specialist settings focussing on the care of young people and their families with challenging behaviour. After leaving the NHS I worked for a charity dedicated to the support needs of bereaved children, young people and their families. My role was managing the multi-disciplinary team and developing support programmes and service delivery for families within this specialist area of work.
My experience in the NHS gave me an understanding of the demands placed on the teenage and young adult teams and nurses working directly on our units with young people. My background of working directly with children, young people and families at the most traumatic time in their lives gives me an understanding of the pressures that they are facing and the challenges of offering services that meet their needs from a nursing perspective.
I see my role as supporting the wider Teenage Cancer Trust staff in the south and south west to have a greater understanding of the work we do on our units and in the region and to develop strong and positive relationships with the nursing and teenage and young adult teams. I also recognise the need to support the nursing teams and help them understand the needs of the charity in raising awareness and funds to continue to support our work across the UK.
Teenage Cancer Trust and me
I have really valued working with the nursing teams on our units and hearing their stories of care and compassion in how they support young people and their families experiencing the trauma of cancer. Hearing the humour that young people bring to those situations is very reassuring and one that resonates with me.
I am proud of the way the charity places the needs of young people with cancer at the centre of its entire decision making process. I'm proud of the way in which we engage young people to develop our units and services, and provide them with opportunities to make this potentially devastating experience one that they can use to build a positive life that they thought might never have been possible.