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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Thank You - Systemic Anti-cancer Therapy (SACT) nurses


The role of two of our Band 5 Nurses, Laura Nunn and Nikki Cartwright, is to assess patients' fitness for anti-cancer therapy (chemotherapy and other treatments) and then to administer it.

In recent weeks, Laura and Nikki have both been 'shielding' - which means they are seen to be especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, and have therefore been staying at home and avoiding contact with all other people.

Thankfully, they have both found a role which not only enables them to work from home, but has been a fantastic support to both patients and the staff of our Day Treatment Unit (DTU).

As soon as the necessary equipment and IT was in place, both nurses began providing a telephone pre-assessment clinic.

The day before a patient is due to come into our DTU or the Brodey Centre, Laura or Nikki will call them. They will ask some questions about their health, and if there is any possibility that they might have symptoms of, or been exposed to COVID-19.

They will also offer advice and information about the protective measures and screening in force within the department.

They check patients' blood test results, and ask about any possible side-effects from previous anti-cancer therapy appointments.

If any issues with a patient's treatment are identified, Laura and Nikki liaise with the medical team to agree an action plan, while providing further advice and support to the patient.

The telephone clinic has been an enormous success, and, according to our nurses, has 'streamlined and made the whole service more efficient'.

Patients now spend less time in hospital than before, and some have even been spared unnecessary journeys because potential problems have been identified and addressed the day before.

Paula Hay-Plumb, OUH Non-executive Director, says:

"This is a brilliant example of our staff adapting to extraordinary circumstances, and ensuring that good can come out of a very challenging situation.

"We are really grateful to Laura and Nikki for their dedication and willingness to take on new ways of working, and for demonstrating how we can improve our service in the future."

The entire nursing team agrees that the clinic should become a permanent part of the work of the Day Treatment Unit and Brodey Centre.

Thank you Laura and Nikki for what you do!

Pictured: composite image of Nikki Cartwright (left) and Laura Nunn.