Practice Development Nurse Sam Preston has worked at Sciensus for over five years and loves the dual aspect of her role. As well as providing personalised cancer treatment in the home, she also supports and trains our specialist systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) nurses.
Sam explains that her job satisfaction comes from having two sides to her role – the hands-on nature of patient care and the clinical support she provides to trainee nurses.
“I love the fact that my job gives me the best of both worlds,” she says. “I train and support our chemotherapy nurses, but I also treat patients to maintain my skills – so I get to be patient facing even when I’m supporting the nurses.”
Taking pride in personalised care
One of the aspects of the role that Sam especially appreciates, is how tailored the care is to patients’ individual needs. Where possible, the nurses treat the same patients, so they develop an ongoing relationship.
“When we’re checking the scheduled visits, patients might say ‘I’ve got my grandchildren that day’, so we’ll find out what time they need to pick them up so we can schedule their appointment around that.”
Whether she is chatting to the patient, providing advice and guidance on diet and exercise or supporting family members when patients are receiving their chemotherapy, Sam loves doing all the extra little things that can help to make their day easier.
“We’re fortunate because we get to know the patients, their family, their friends, and even their pets. It becomes a bit more than just providing treatment,” she says. “Where else as a clinician would it be just as important to have a bag of dog treats as it is to have the right equipment?
For many patients, that relationship goes even further, especially when people are worried about discussing certain subjects with their family.
“Often, the patient will talk to us, and we can make sure we refer them to the right people to get the help they need, such as our team of Cancer Nurse Specialists (CNS’s),” says Sam. “You’re with patients for quite a long period of time so you want to give them the best care you can, and the trust you build with them is really important. It’s one thing that we all pride ourselves on.”
Nurturing the next generation of nurses
Sam is also proud of the work she does supporting and training the chemotherapy nurses. As a nurse herself, Sam understands first-hand how important it is for the nurses to get the right emotional support, another important part of her role.
“We offer a safe place for nurses to talk and reflect on their practice. If there has been a specific incident, we’ll support them at the time to make sure they’re OK and then provide formal, reflective feedback later,” she says.
She is driven by the fact that no two days are the same – one day she may be carrying out competency updates with nurses, the next she will be running clinical supervision support.
“There’s nothing better than seeing one of my training nurses flying solo and hearing compliments from patients about them. I can’t help but feel proud to have helped them on their way!”