GWH nurses look back on 40 years of the Macmillan nurse

Posted: September 1, 2015

Celebrating four decades of vital cancer care

Macmillan 40 300With 120 years of nursing experience between them, three nurses working at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, reflect on the changing role of the Macmillan nurse, to celebrate 40 years of the role. 

Hundreds of local patients benefit from the specialist care, advice and support, made possible through the Trust's special partnership with Macmillan. 

Since funding its first nurse 40 years ago, Macmillan's role has grown and the charity now funds many health and social care roles in the community, as well as providing a range of specialist advice, support and information to patients living with cancer. 

Gail Daley, Macmillan Gastro-Intestinal Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, has been a nurse with the Trust  since 1997 and was adopted by Macmillan four years ago.

This means Macmillan recognised the value in Gail's role and chose to support her by funding education and training to further develop her skills and knowledge, enabling her to provide more specialist care and advice.  

She said: "I think patients find the name Macmillan reassuring, although I do have to explain that Macmillan is not just about end of life.

"Clinical Nurse Specialists are there for every stage of someone's cancer experience and as treatments improve, more and more people are living with, and after cancer. 

"Being a Macmillan nurse allows me to access support, education and training which complements what I receive through the NHS. It also helps with service developments, which lead to improved patient care."

Jane Douglass, Macmillan Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist, joined the Trust two years later in 1999. 

She said: "My role has changed considerably over the last decade, becoming more complex as diagnostic tests and treatments evolve. 

"Providing patients with clear and evidence based information to help them make some of the most crucial and difficult decisions they will ever make, is easier with the high quality patient information Macmillan provides. 

"I have recently taken up a part-time role with Macmillan as an Information Support Specialist, visiting towns across the south in a mobile information unit, to provide advice and support on the high street."

Sally Black, Part-time Breast Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, has been part of the Trust since 1987 and is a former lead cancer nurse. 

She said: "Patients respect the name greatly and over my 42 year career I feel deeply privileged to have met so many brave patients and their families

"Although not a Macmillan nurse myself, I have seen Macmillan's influence steadily increase. 

"With increasing patient numbers and growing expectations, we are always trying to improve the quality of cancer services.

"My hope for the future is continuing improvements in cancer survival and the quality of life of patients, with and after cancer."

Translate this page: