Oncology Nurse wins top national award

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Karen Verrill, won one of the UK’s top nursing prizes at the recent British Journal of Nursing Awards 2011 when she scooped the coveted award for Oncology Nurse of the Year.  Karen, who looks after patients with secondary breast cancer at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC), received the award from TV presenter, Dr Christian Jessen, who hosted the event alongside Sir George Castledine and Dame Christine Beasley at the Landmark Hotel, London on 25th March 2011.  This prestigious event highlights clinical excellence and innovation in nursing and pays particular attention to examples of initiative and enterprise, by rewarding nurses who have achieved outstanding success in a range of clinical areas.

Karen has been a breast cancer clinical nurse specialist for over 14 years and has always been involved in establishing new and improved services for patients. In particular, Karen won her award in recognition of the specialist care she provides for her patients at home such as seroma aspiration, applying surgical dressings to wounds, prosthesis fitting along with psychological support/counselling.  As patients with cancer often need long term follow up care and support, clinical visits can continue for a long time.  Karen also set up a number of patient-centred services such as a ‘Drop in Clinic / Support Group’, held monthly in a Newcastle based hotel so that women don’t need to come into the hospital setting.

Karen has taken up a new role since winning this award.  It is one of only a handful of posts in the country specifically caring for and supporting women diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. She has now set up ‘easy to access nurse led clinics’ and a ‘no appointment required, drop-in clinic’ at NCCC so that women can call in and be seen quickly.

On winning the award, Karen says “Winning this award was a huge honour and will inspire me to continue doing what I do. It is absolutely fantastic to have national recognition for my work from the BJN who represent not just oncology nurses but the whole of the nursing profession in the UK.” 

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