I’m Kerry Baker. I work at University college hospital, London, on the Teenage Cancer Unit. I am a Paediatric Nurse and have worked within Paed/adolescent haematology/oncology/BMT for 22 years. I am one of 3 in our team of Clinical Nurse Specialists for Teenagers with Haematological malignancies, mainly Leukaemia and Lymphoma. I key work adolescents age 13-19yrs throughout their cancer journey as well as some younger children with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
I have a very supportive role and help to manage symptom control, promote self-management, am active in psychological assessment, support clinical choice of teenagers and meet their informational needs. I complete holistic needs assessments and refer to relevant members of the MDT as needed. I support teenagers and their families during diagnosis, throughout their treatment including into follow up or palliative care. The role includes managing patients and their family’s distress throughout their treatment.
Providing continuous care
I am able to provide continuous care and be available throughout their cancer experience. I enjoy meeting new teenagers and their families at diagnosis and making a difference to their experience. I have time to sit with them, explain the treatment, side effects and how to manage these. I am able to offer expert advice in a timely manner and be the key person for the teenagers and their families to contact. Having a key worker who is contactable, approachable, experienced and knowledgeable is absolutely intrinsic to good cancer care.
I liaise with their schools/college/university’s/work and promote getting back into education/work and normality. I also communicate with other health care professional, both within UCLH and in the community and shared care hospitals to ensure seamless care as much as possible. I am a core member of the TYA psychosocial MDT and present any new patients to the team, and also contribute to team decisions about treatment and support for all TYA’s with a cancer diagnosis within the network.
Memorable moments (+ Justin Bieber)
There have been many memorable moments, I suppose meeting and showing Justin Bieber around our teenage cancer ward was quite memorable!! There are many more memories which I will never forget; being with a teenager and their family when they die is very humbling. It is so sad but when you are able to ensure the teenager is not in pain and is peaceful, it is rewarding. I work with an amazing, committed, caring team and thankfully we are able to give teenagers with cancer the care they need and deserve.
Working with Bloodwise
I am a member of the Bloodwise nurse advisory group and we meet regularly. This has enabled us all to network with each other, sharing experiences and overall trying to improve care for all patients. I am also currently updating some patient information booklets and trying to complete a poster for presentation at a conference in December.
Thank you, Kerry, for sharing your experiences as a CNS working with teenagers!
If you have a story to share or would like to tell us how you make an impact on patients, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org!