The Beatson is a special place thanks to the wonderful, dedicated people who work there every day. Here, we chat to Advanced Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nicola Thompson, about what it's like to be part of Team Beatson.
How long have you been working at The Beatson?
I’ve worked in this amazing place for 19 years in a variety of nursing posts.
What made you want to specialise in renal and testicular cancer?
I saw it as a challenge and an exciting opportunity to work with two fantastic patient groups and clinical teams. Up until that point, patients with testicular, kidney and ovarian germ cell cancer hadn’t had the support of an Advanced Clinical Nurse Specialist.
How would you describe what you do?
I support patients at three germ cell clinics and two renal clinics every week. I also visit the in-patient ward, attend various team meetings, and provide confidential advice to patients and their families. Often, I’ll take calls and answer email enquiries from other healthcare professionals such as GPs, District Nurses and Community Nurse Specialists.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The best part of my job is the one-to one contact with people. I get to know patients and their families really well throughout their cancer journey, and it’s wonderful to make such a difference to their lives. Helping someone gain the knowledge and self-confidence to manage their own treatment is extremely fulfilling. Every patient is an individual, and I try to tailor support and information to their unique needs, whatever they may be.
How does Beatson Cancer Charity’s Wellbeing Centre add to the care that you provide?
It makes a huge difference to everyone who comes to the hospital for treatment, and I encourage all of my patients to visit if they can. They get so much out of the centre, whether it’s a welcoming smile, meeting other patients, a complimentary therapy treatment, or just a friendly cup of tea. The Wellbeing Centre even comes to patients who cannot make the journey themselves, by having a therapist who attends the in-patient ward. Plus there’s a complimentary tea trolley service that volunteers bring round to patients and families attending outpatient clinics. One of my patients calls it a ‘hug in a mug’!
What makes The Beatson special in your view?
It’s the patients and families that make The Beatson a fantastic place to work. Patients are going through the most challenging, difficult and emotional experience of their lives, yet many do so with humour and candour. I also love the fact that every day is a school day at The Beatson, as you learn something new all the time. All of the staff work extremely hard, and The Beatson also has a huge commitment to research and education in developing cancer treatments of the future.
What would you say to someone to encourage them to support Beatson Cancer Charity with a donation?
Without the work of the charity, and the generosity of its many supporters, there simply wouldn’t be a Wellbeing Centre. There would be no complimentary therapies, no Specialist Health and Work Service, no funded specialist posts, no support for education and research. Everything that Beatson Cancer Charity does, has a real impact on past, present and future patients and their families.
Without Nicola many of the patients who rely on her knowledge, expertise and support would find what they are going through even harder. You can ensure many more patients can see a Clinical Nurse Specialist like Nicola in years to come by making a quick and easy donation or by finding out how can get involved here.