Hi all, we are delighted to introduce you to Gemma, our Nurse Advisor here at Blood Cancer UK.
In 2022 we are going to be hosting some ‘Ask the Nurse’ sessions on the forum, both through Zoom and forum threads. We want these to be useful as possible for this community, so we have started a thread here, where you can share your thoughts about what you want these sessions to cover.
Here’s a message from Gemma -
"I have been a Registered nurse for over 23 years, and I have chosen to work within the speciality of Haematology for the entirety of those years in varied nursing roles. I began my career as inpatients haematology ward nurse where I cared for patients with both malignant and non-malignant haematological conditions. This included young adult haematology patients and those patients undergoing a Bone Marrow Transplants. Over the past 13 years I have been an Acute Leukaemia Clinical Nurse Specialist where predominantly I worked with people over 20 years of age who have been diagnosed with an Acute Leukaemia. I worked as part of a team of 7 Clinical Nurse Specialists who covered a wide range of haematological disorders.
Being a key worker/clinical nurse specialist over the past 13 years enabled me to bear witness to the patient experience from beginning to end which is a humbling and rewarding role.
As a Nurse Advisor for the Support Services at Blood Cancer UK, I, along with the brilliant Support Services Team are establishing this role to not only join the team’s support service but also provide a clinical resource and commence Nurse led services for our Blood Cancer community."
Got an idea for an ‘Ask the Nurse’ Zoom session or Forum Thread? Feel free to let us know below,
(Please note: This is not to take the place of the advice of your individual healthcare teams, but instead to widen the support network for people in this online community).
Sounds like a great role you’ve taken on, and you’ve certainly got the experience.
Perhaps at some point you could discuss what we as blood cancer patients can do to maximise our immune systems, and to help our blood be as healthy as possible, whatever our diagnoses and position in terms of treatment. These things are not often discussed, and I’m sure most of us appreciate practical tips which give us a small amount of control in an area of our lives where we feel we have little control.
Thanks ever so much.
Welcome Gemma looking forward to ‘Ask the Nurse’.
Hello @Fullofbeans and thank you for the welcome. We can definitely talk about general well-being on our session. As you say, control is something we all strive for and can really support self belief and confidence. Look for ward to catching up soon. Take care Gemma
Hello @GemmaBloodCancerUK it sounds as though the Ask the Nurse questions and answers could be really helpful and I agree with @Fullofbeans suggestion and would perhaps add something on terminology would be helpful as blood cancer patients when newly diagnosed seem to have to learn a whole new vocabulary. I realise it would have to be very general as there are so many types of blood cancers but just understanding blood results can be quite a challenge. Also something on dealing with side effects of medication might be helpful. Having been treated for Leukaemia in two different countries I found in England a tendency to under play the side effects and imply that you were unusual if you had them whereas in Germany they tend to unpack all the side effects with the medication and talk about strategies for coping. I think there is a happy medium to be achieved between the two approaches?
Hi @Ismo and @GemmaBloodCancerUK, it is interesting to hear the differences in approach between the UK and Germany.
@GemmaBloodCancerUK what an asset you will be to the Blood Cancer UK team. Perhaps a quick explanation about watch and wait and the other tools used in deciding whether treatment is required or not.
Perhaps what questions to ask at an appointment.
I will keep thinking and I am really looking forward to the session.
Hi @GemmaBloodCancerUK , you will be invaluable to the forum members. It’s really great to know that there is someone with extensive haematology experience to call on
I would be interested in safe exercise for people with bone damage as I have never been given any guidance from my medical team on trying to keep active. I would also be interested in the mental health side of dealing with our conditions particularly the down days that surface on occasions.
Hi Gemma, I would like to have discussion on new developments, and the affect that Covid has had, I have just had last Friday the infusion of a antibody drug as I tested positive for Covid last week. I’m hoping that any group discussions can be of help for any of us that are in the vulnerable groups, as Covid will be with for quite some time yet.
Hi @Russell how are you feeling and doing now?
Hi there my name is Bob and I’ve got Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) of it two jobs the commonalty dose already call it and I’ve been diagnosed with covid-19 but 5/6 days ago I’ve been offered monoclonal antibody infusion tomorrow does anybody know anything about this thank you
Hi @Bobby, so sorry to hear you have COVID, how are you feeling? It is very reassuring to hear that you have been offered the monoclonal antibody treatment. Are you heading to a COVID Medical Day Unit today? Here is the NHS information about the antibody Sotrovimab About sotrovimab (Xevudy) - NHS which I am sure will be discussed with you today and prior to the treatment itself. I really hope you feel better very soon and please contact the Support Services if you need to talk through anything How to contact Blood Cancer UK | Blood Cancer UK Kind regards Gemma
Hi @Russell, thanks so much for the message. How are you feeling a week after the infusion? Have your symptoms improved? I think having some general discussions about the very understandable COVID anxiety our community feels would be really useful. @Alice_BloodCancerUK and I are planning future sessions and will include this. Take good care Gemma
Hi @Lyn99, thank you for the message. Safe exercise and mental health support are definitely topics we can cover within our discussions. @Alice_BloodCancerUK will let you know when we start the sessions and what they include. Kind regards
@Erica excellent suggestions. Those are precisely the things that would have been useful to me 4 years ago. And that’s before we get into the whole can of worms of Covid…
Hi everyone, we’d be so grateful if you could fill out this short survey - we really want to know what sort of Nurse Advisor support would be most useful for people on here.
Nurse Advisor Support/Information Sessions for our Online Community - Your feedback
I wanted to come on and formally introduce myself as a newly appointed member of the nurse advisor team. Although I have had the great pleasure of working within our organisation as a support service officer since August of last year, I have recently moved into a position of Nurse Advisor, alongside Senior nurse advisor @GemmaBloodCancerUK.
I have been a registered nurse for 15 years and have within that time worked in many different specialities in Scotland and overseas. My personal interest has always been within haematology and from early days as a student I knew very quickly this was the perfect fit for me.
During my career as a nurse, I have gained experience within acute oncology/haematology wards, & local chemotherapy day units allowing me to follow patients journey from point of diagnosis through their treatment & beyond. I have also had the privilege of working within both local community palliative care teams, district nursing teams and in patient hospice units allowing me to have a solid understanding of the impact blood cancer can have upon both patients and their family members.
I feel incredibly lucky to be working within such an incredible organisation & along with the brilliant Support Services Team hope to help further provide a clinical resource and Nurse led services for our Blood Cancer community.
Oh @LauranBloodCancerUK what a brilliant move and fit for you and Blood Cancer UK for you to move to the really valuable nurse advisory team.
The whole wonderful support services team grows from strength to strength and its support for us all.
Oh Thank you so very much @Erica that is super kind!
Thank you for all the wonderful support you offer to so many within the forum each day! It is beyond invaluable and we appreciate it so very much, Lauran