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North Central London conference celebrates cancer nursing

Angelie Samuel standing at the lecturn, speaking at the North Central London cancer clinical nurse specialist conference

This week the North Central London Cancer Alliance (NCLCA) held its first cancer clinical nurse specialist (CNS) conference. Partnered by Macmillan Cancer Support, the Alliance and cancer nurse leads from the North Central London acute trusts organised the event at the Wellcome Collection. Close to 150 nurses and nurse leaders attended. The day was a celebration of cancer nursing, but the issues of workforce retention recruitment, and managing compassion fatigue were also on the table.

The conference was co-chaired by Lallita Carballo, clinical lead for supportive cancer care at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Jemma O’Reilly, Macmillan lead cancer nurse at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The morning session included speakers from NHS England, North Central London Integrated Care Board and a presentation on the NCLCA-led project to raise awareness of and improve support given to existing and aspiring cancer clinical nurse specialists across London.

At the event, Chris Caldwell, Chief Nurse, North Central London Integrated Care Board, said: “I’m delighted to be part of this conference which focuses on addressing inequalities and delivering personalised care through really listening to, and acting on, the perspective of patients. This is at the very heart of our aims as the NCL Integrated Care Board.  

“It’s important to recognise the vital role of cancer nurses – there is very clear evidence that this specialist role has a hugely positive impact on patient outcomes and experiences of care.”

Commenting after the event, Ali Malik, Managing Director, NCLCA, said: “This was an inspiring and important event for cancer nursing in North Central London and beyond. We covered key issues about recognition and understanding of the cancer CNS role but at the same celebrated the vital part they play in providing care and support during a very difficult and stressful time in a patient’s life. I’m proud of our team for their organisation and collaboration to achieve such a successful and worthwhile event.”

The day’s highlights included a moving and amusing speech from Errol McKellar of The Errol McKellar Foundation, who thanked cancer nurses for their care during his diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer. He is now dedicated to encouraging men to get checked for the disease. While artist, Blanche Ellis, spent the day capturing the conference in illustration and running two workshops with attendees to artistically represent the unique contribution of CNSs to patient care.

Developing the CNS role

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