When Amy relocated from London to North East England at the start of 2021, she began looking for new job opportunities. That’s when she heard about community chemotherapy nursing at Sciensus, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Amy was a trained chemotherapy nurse working in hospitals in London when she made the move to Newcastle. It was the ideal opportunity to consider her career options.
“I’d never heard of chemotherapy in the community before, but I had always loved doing community work when I was on student placements,” says Amy. “When I saw this job advertised, I just knew it was right for me. The idea of being able to join community and chemotherapy together in one role was really exciting.”
Building skills and confidence
Now 18 months into the role, Amy says she’s learnt and developed a lot in a short space of time.
“Because of the autonomous nature of the role, I have definitely developed my skills in chemotherapy, like evaluating people’s blood test results,” she says. “I’m less reliant on other team members, which means I communicate more directly with the consultants rather than relying on a specialist nurse to do that.”
Amy’s also had the opportunity to gain further qualifications, completing a master’s module in chemotherapy run by Birmingham City University, as a follow on from her Bachelor’s.
“I really enjoyed doing the master module. It gave me the opportunity to explore haematology, blood cancers and myeloma in more depth,” Amy explains.
“That knowledge has enabled me to connect with patients because their conditions can be quite complicated. It’s nice for them to speak to somebody that understands the different lines of treatment that they might go through.”
Working in a relaxed and familiar environment
Amy says it’s a real privilege to go into people’s homes and get to learn more about their lives. She enjoys meeting their children and the rest of their family, seeing the photos in the house and getting to know their pets.
“It’s really relaxed and it gives me a great insight into their lives and lots of talking points that I can draw on from the environment,” she says.
This familiar setting also means that patients can be relaxed during their treatment. Amy says that many people choose to wear pyjamas or have a special blanket to make them feel more comfortable.
“They can have their home comforts around them, and their family can be there too if they like. Some of the treatments might take up to seven hours, so their relatives can bring them lunch and they can watch their favourite TV programmes – it makes the time go a lot quicker.”
One of the most positive aspects of home treatment is seeing patients being able to retain some of their independence, especially if they have younger children to look after.
“I think it gives patients a lot of their independence back when they have a young family,” Amy says. “They’re not reliant on other people to pick up their children or take them to school. They’re able to be there and be present with them.”