Meet our ABC specialist nurse partners and find out how they value, support and empower their patients in their day to day work. Each nurse also shares a particularly useful tip, aimed at helping support those living with ABC
Dr Elaine Tomlins - Consultant Nurse at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Elaine Tomlins has over 30 years nursing experience and as a specialist in the treatment of advanced breast cancer care, is adamant that ‘incurable’ does not mean ‘untreatable’. Elaine notes:
“Treatments for advanced breast cancer are varied and although living with uncertainty is always difficult - you must carry on and truly live your life.
Big changes are not always necessary and remember that your Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is there to support you and your family the entire time.”
Dr Victoria Harmer - Macmillan Consultant Nurse (breast) at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Dr Victoria Harmer, a consultant nurse for breast cancer in London, highlights how more and more is gradually being found out about how best we can help and improve quality of life for women with ABC and their carers/family. Regarding My Time Our Time, she comments:
“My Time Our Time is a welcomed campaign which aims to inspire patients to take the time to reveal and share their purpose and goals. Moreover, it reminds healthcare professionals to ensure that time is spent communicating with transparency and realistic hope to patients with life limiting disease, in order for their individual goals and wishes to be known. By doing this healthcare professionals and patients can work in partnership to ensure practical support, help and advice can be pitched accordingly.”
Karen Verrill – Centre Head at Maggie’s Centre, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne
Karen has over 35 years’ experience as a nurse - 20 of these as a Breast Cancer CNS. For the last 5 years she has been managing the Maggie’s Centre in Newcastle, where people with cancer, their friends and family can gain practical, emotional and social support from specialist healthcare professionals.
Giving advice to women living with secondary breast cancer, Karen says: “Life is precious so live it as well as you possibly can. There are now many effective treatment options available for secondary breast cancer, and though they may be tough – so are you. Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself and love yourself… you are worth it.”
Maria Noblet - Consultant Nurse, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Maria Noblet has a special interest in developing breast cancer nurse practice and is a true advocate for the important role specialist nurses play in the care of women with advanced breast cancer. Maria highlights:
“We are still a long way off every woman with advanced breast cancer having access to an advanced breast cancer nurse specialist, but thankfully this is becoming more common and women with the disease are now beginning to be supported better in this setting. We know that the experience of advanced disease can often be more traumatic than initial diagnosis, and so it is essential that as nurses we maintain hope, give support and provide information. The provision of excellent nursing care really matters.”