New role to support cancer patients

Jo Grand joined UHNM as a Macmillan Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Support Worker/Navigator in 2017 to help support those patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Since Jo has been in post, she was worked with patients who have recently been diagnosed with cancer to help support them during what can be an extremely stressful and upsetting time. At this time, Jo's role is based in the Upper GI team.

Jo, explains why this kind of support is so crucial for patients who have just been diagnosed: "Those couple of days following diagnosis can be very difficult for our patients as they usually have lots of questions, worries and concerns. This is where I come in and, alongside my nursing colleagues, we identify those patients coming through our service that have received a diagnosis of cancer. From there we carry out a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) at a time convenient to the patient, which gives patients chance to think about any concerns they have and discuss possible solutions. At the moment I'm trying to see patients at the start of their pathway but if either myself or my colleagues identify that any one of our patients needs some support then I get involved.

"I'm really passionate about the role and I think patients value the support that they receive. Previously it's been difficult to provide this holistic support for patients and just having the time to speak to them about what their concerns and worries are is invaluable. Sometimes the cancer diagnosis isn't the biggest worry or concern at the time, and we're able to put in place mechanisms of support that can help ease those concerns.

"Helping others drives me to be the best I can be and to do better.  I feel really proud to be part of this organisation, to know that we as a team are working towards the common goal of helping patients through their cancer journey and beyond."

The Upper GI Cancer Nurse Specialist Team can be contacted via, 01782 674695.