As many as one in eight women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer* in the UK. For many women dealing with the diagnosis or the very difficult decision to remove breasts following the BRCA gene test, it can be a scary and often lonely time.
Jacqui Kenyon is the breast care clinical nurse specialist at Spire Harpenden Hospital, and her job is crucial for the breast care patients at the hospital as she explains below.
“The decision to become a breast care nurse has been something I’ve wanted since I qualified, when I spent 12 weeks on a placement on a breast cancer ward,“ says Jacqui.
“I worked in the community for two years, which involved looking after lots of women after breast surgery as well as palliative patients. I recently completed my BSc in surgical healthcare and while I was working at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital I spent time with the breast nurse practitioner on my days off, in order to gain further experience.”
Jacqui has been working at Spire Harpenden Hospital since August 2014, having worked at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital as a ward sister on the colorectal bariatric ward.
Since starting at the hospital, Jacqui has been working on a number of new projects to benefit the patients. She explains: “I help at clinics with Dr Ah-See and Dr Shah, I get referrals from oncologists to follow-up with a holistic assessment and I then refer them on to further care. I have been building relationships with Pamper Me, Grove House and Active Luton, all of whom can offer various types of patients support with their journey.”
But Jacqui doesn’t just stop there: “We have recently raised over £900 for Breast Cancer Care.
“Alongside Anne Marie, the ward sister of the chemotherapy ward, we have set up a support group for our patients. We are kicked it off with a tropic pamper day, and now hold evenings roughly every month, which are a chance for our patients to learn more, as well as socialising with others going through a similar process.
“Providing support on a personal level is so rewarding,” she finishes. “When patients feel prepared and ready for the treatment or surgery because I have been able to spend time with them answering questions they might have. I like getting to know the patient and their family and I offer them support on a personal level, giving reassurance and support.”