What is your role at the breast clinic?
I'm committed to high quality and compassionate care. An important part of my job is to identify and meet the needs of my patients on their personal and specific cancer journey and by being effective in coordinating and supporting patients along the cancer pathway from pre-diagnosis, through to survivorship alongside the multi-disciplinary team. I'm also part of the multi-disciplinary care team and communicate between different members of the wider team whilst being an advocate for the patient.
What is the best part about being a Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist?
The most rewarding part about being a Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist is, my patients, inspire me every day and I form a unique relationship with them and their families. I enjoy caring for my patients and the trust that develops with relationships is a pleasure and a privilege. I appreciate that every patient is different and no one day is the same. To be able to comfort patients whether their needs are physical, emotional or mental – I share their most intimate moments and treat them with dignity and empathy. I find my job very gratifying and rewarding but at times, it is (understandably) challenging.
What should patients expect on the day?
When attending the Rutherford Breast Clinic, every patient will have all the time they need and will be supported, well informed and reassured by a breast care nurse at every step. Patients will attend what is called a triple assessment which comprises clinical assessment, imaging assessment and if needed, a needle biopsy.
Patients will meet a consultant oncoplastic surgeon, a clinical nurse specialist in breast care and the patient will have a clinical assessment to determine the patients’ symptoms, relevant history and a physical examination.
Following this, the patient will go for imaging in the form of a mammogram and a targeted ultrasound of their breast and axilla (armpit). At this point, it will be decided if a biopsy (sample of tissue) is required in which case local anaesthetic will be administered and a biopsy will be taken.
The biopsy will then be sent to the laboratory to be examined under the microscope and the results will be discussed in our team meeting. Following that team meeting, the patient will be informed of the results and informed of what if anything needs to be done.
At all times, the patient will be involved/advised about the steps we are taking, what is happening, and everything clearly explained to them at every point during the process.