A number of new nurse-run telephone clinics within the head and neck services of the NHS hospitals at Nottinghamshire University will enable earlier and possibly more personal contact with health workers for some cancer patients previously classified as “low risk”.
Cancer clinics run by nurses
Joanne Broughton-King (pictured left) is a clinical nurse specialist in head and neck cancer at NUH. Part of Joanne’s job, funded by the East Midlands Cancer Alliance, is to set up a nurse-run clinic to screen long-term low-risk patients and thyroid cancer. These patients are currently being seen by counselors.
Joanne said, “Consultants can book patients directly to this clinic, which is open every Wednesday morning with space for 6 patients. Patients have more time with the nurse, including their own holistic needs assessment.
“We can also refer them to dietary, psychological and other support services. Having a nurse-run clinic for lower risk patients also means counselors can devote more time to more complex cancer patients at higher risk. “
In close collaboration with Bindhu Saraswathy (Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist – center shown) and Sue Mazengarb (Clinic Airways Nurse Specialist – right picture), Joanne has set up additional weekly telephone clinics for Bindhu, including a Macmillan clinic for holistic needs and a palliative care facility for nurses include phone clinic, a Macmillan diagnostic phone clinic, and a specialist head and neck respiratory nurse counseling center for Sue.
Overall, these nurse-run clinics have added capacity to see up to 26 patients per week.
Sue Mazengarb supports patients who have a tracheostomy or laryngectomy as part of their cancer treatment and works at the QMC. She meets patients before the operation and supports them during their stay with us. Through classes and home visits, Sue removes some of the worries and fears of the hospital-home transition.
Queen’s Medical Center
Sue said, “Part of my role is changing nurse-run tracheostomy tubes. At these clinics, we perform more than 500 tube changes each year and can offer bespoke training advice on tube care, products, and equipment.
“Via our telephone counseling center, we can examine patients over the phone, provide professional support and arrange a personal appointment or a home visit. Patients feel comforted to have a named contact and contact number in case professional advice is required at any point during their treatment. “
Bindu Saraswathy, Macmillan’s Head and Neck Nursing Specialist, said, “Head and neck patients often face many treatment challenges that have a huge impact on their quality of life. Nursing-run clinics with a special focus on “holistic assessment and summary of treatment” will help us identify and address these issues.
“The palliative patient telephone clinics also help the family or relatives of the patient who are also affected by a cancer diagnosis. Similarly, thyroid patients are often diagnosed young and often require longer follow-up time, which can be safely done through these nurse-run clinics. “
Yujay Ramakrishnan, ENT Consultant and Head of ENT Services at NUH, said, “The new nurse-run clinics are great news for patients. Not only will these patients, whom we classify as less risky, have more time with the nurse, my colleagues at Head-Neck Counselors will also see more patients with higher risk cancer. This is a better outcome for everyone involved, patients and staff. “.
With a view to the future, Joanne would like to expand this model of a nurse-run clinic to other areas. “I’m in the process of working with colleagues to set up more nurse-run head and neck cancer clinics and we plan to appoint a nurse specialist to work with me to support this.”
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