Lead nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital opens up on challenges of pandemic for International Nurses Day

A lead nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital has given an insight into life on the cancer frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 12:56 pm

Macmillan nurse Sheree Hall spoke about the challenges the profession has faced ahead of International Nurses Day on Wednesday, May 12.

Sheree says the past year has brought challenges for all nurses and the impact on cancer treatment has been ‘enormous’.

“The worst aspect for our staff was trying to support people whilst adhering to guidelines,” Macmillan lead cancer nurse Sheree said.

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“This affected people awaiting a cancer diagnosis, people awaiting tests or treatments, people who had treatment stopped or paused.

"As you can imagine this was so distressing for patients and their families.

"Staff were in many instances unable to change this but tried to support people remotely or with social distancing in place which was and still is extremely difficult.

Sheree Hall, Macmillan lead cancer nurse based at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Photo: Steve Smailes Photography.
Sheree Hall, Macmillan lead cancer nurse based at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Photo: Steve Smailes Photography.

"We also had the added issue of some staff having to be redeployed to support people with Covid-19 in the hospital.”

Sheree says support in the town for the NHS and Macmillan has been ‘overwhelming’ and she has embraced new ways of working.

“Although virtual communication is not always appropriate, the pandemic has enabled us to embrace this and in some situations and circumstances this is better for patients and can save on waiting times in clinic, travel times and costs,” she said.

As the patient’s key contact, Macmillan nurses are in a unique position to offer clear information and signposting to services – something which has become vital during the pandemic

Sheree said more investment is needed in cancer services to deal with the impact of Covid, particularly when it comes to psychological support.

She added: “It has emphasised gaps we were aware of which I feel need to be prioritised especially when dealing with the post COVID-19 impact as many of us are not in the same physical and mental condition.”

Sue Sanderson, Macmillan partnership manager for Derbyshire, said: “We are so grateful to all nurses working everywhere for the care, compassion and sheer professionalism they have shown in coping with the additional pressures brought about by the pandemic. At Macmillan we are doing whatever it takes to support our nurses as well as patients and the goodwill and support of the public will help us to achieve that goal.”

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