Hear from some of Team HHFT's Clinical Nurse Specialists talking about their careers. Click on each tab below to read their stories.

CK photo.jpgI work as a Macmillan Haematology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

I have a very diverse role in the trust, as I am also the Transfusion Clinical Nurse Specialist and Patient Blood Management Lead. This role was created and developed during Covid-19 to reduce inappropriate outpatient blood product use within the trust. I managed to restructure the outpatient transfusions and create an effective referral system across departments. This has led to a dual role as a Haematology & Transfusion CNS.

My Haematology CNS role is to support patients and their families from the time of diagnosis, through to treatment and beyond. I work with patients with Malignant and Non-malignant haematological conditions. This includes providing them with the correct information, answering their queries, arranging relevant appointments and blood tests and sign-posting them to relevant services. It is always difficult to explain what a CNS truly is, but how I would describe it best is that we are a lifeline for our patients.


Patient’s perspective of CNS’s:

(Taken from a Wow Nomination presented to Chrissie).

“When being diagnosed with any form of cancer, even if relatively benign, there is inevitably a lot of concern/fear involved. Christina’s empathy, calmness, confidence, excellent listening and clearly excellent knowledge of the condition, symptoms, treatment, and consequences of the disease was an enormous help in getting to grips with what was happening and dealing with it. Christina has been a consistent support, always happy and keen to help, and simply knowing that she is there to help has been a real boost in itself. Overall, a fantastic person and a genuine superstar, thank you!”.

Clare Clayden-Lewis photo.jpgI work as a Macmillan Lead Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

I became a clinical nurse specialist as I wanted to extend and develop my skills to help support patients through their cancer pathway. I was adopted by Macmillan after my first year and the support they have provided has significantly helped to develop my career.

There continues to be significant new developments in the treatment of breast cancer and my role as a breast clinical nurse specialist is varied. No two days are the same and our duties range from providing telephone support, nurse led clinics and teaching, to specialist skills such as lymphoedema, nipple tattooing and breast form fittings.

As a team we work very closely together, alongside members of the multi-disciplinary team. As a unit we are fortunate to be able to offer a wide range of oncoplastic techniques and advances in radiotherapy including intraoperative radiotherapy.

I enjoy all aspects of my role, especially being there to support patients, their partners, their family and carers. It is a privilege to be a keyworker and getting to know patients, building a rapport and developing relationships. We help people when they may be at their most vulnerable, in order to make their pathway as straightforward as possible and aim to provide high quality care from diagnosis to patient led follow up.

It is fantastic to have a clinical nurse specialist day in order to raise the profile of clinical nurse specialists everywhere and celebrate the role and the work that we do.

VE photo.jpgI have been a Clinical Nurse Specialist for 16 years and lead the Peritoneal Malignancy Clinical Nurse Specialist team at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. The Peritoneal Malignancy Institute is a national treatment centre for the treatment of patients with peritoneal malignancy, with patients travelling from all over the UK (and beyond) for cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS & HIPEC).

The formation of a relationship between the patient and the CNS is key and enables an opportunity for open conversations to take place and specific needs to be identified. We are privileged to have the opportunity to really get to know our patients and their loved ones, allowing us to truly personalise their care. This enables any areas of concern that may arise to be addressed, either by signposting to other agencies or through direct support. We work very closely with the multi-disciplinary team to make a positive difference to patients in our care.

The role of the CNS is to provide expert advice and support patients through their treatment pathway, from the point of diagnosis, throughout treatment and recovery, continuing throughout subsequent surveillance. The geographical location of patients has given rise to the opportunity to develop practices to support our patient group and to enhance working relations with other teams across the UK. The implementation of a treatment folder provides patients with a comprehensive record of their treatment and has increased patient confidence on discharge from Basingstoke. The CNS team follow all patients up with structured nurse-led follow up calls and maintain an open access service from the point of referral, acting as an advocate for them throughout.

I am passionate about personalised patient care, ensuring that it is comprehensive and individualised to the patient’s specific needs and have led the development and implementation of several initiatives to enable this. The opportunity to lead a fantastic team of nurses and to develop practices to help patients is one I cherish.