Chesterfield Macmillan nurse wins national award

Monday 29th April 2019

Chesterfield Macmillan nurse wins national award

Talking to children about cancer is challenging, and preparing a child for loss can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. 

One Macmillan nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been nationally recognised for her work in helping parents talk to their children at this distressing time. 

Maria Leadbeater, is the Macmillan Information and Support Lead at Chesterfield’s Macmillan Information and Support Centre, and set up a service to support parents diagnosed with advanced cancer. 

Maria, who was nominated for a Patient Experience Network (PEN) Award by her colleagues at Chesterfield Hospital, was awarded with The Fiona Littledale Award. The award recognises Oncology Nurses who have demonstrated a personal commitment to developing their skills and understanding of cancer care. 

During her previous role as a Secondary Breast Care Nurse Specialist Maria identified a need for a specific service for parents being diagnosed at the later stages of cancer, she explains: 

“Parents told us they needed help to talk to their children, this is usually their primary concern after diagnosis.  

“A cancer diagnosis can feel very lonely and when you have dependents it can become overwhelming.  We want parents to know they’re not alone and we’re here to support them to live life as fully as possible. 

 “We now advise parents before they have these difficult conversations, signposting them to appropriate information and support them in preparing for their child’s future. 

“ We recognise that support and information can never completely remove the distress or difficult questions at this time but the service gives parents the confidence to be open and honest.

“ I feel honoured to have been recognised by the PEN awards, it reinforces my commitment to constantly improve the experience of local people diagnosed with cancer.” 

The team support parents by practicing having the difficult conversations, helping to write letters for the future or encouraging people to think about making up memory boxes.  Crucially the support offered at the Macmillan Information and Support Centre is tailored to the individual, it should feel right and appropriate for them and their family. 

Richard Metcalfe, Macmillan Programme Manager for the Macmillan Living With And Beyond Cancer Programme, acknowledges the huge difference Maria and the team at Chesterfield are making: 

“Maria and the team at the Macmillan Information and Support Centre play a critical role in ensuring that people affected by cancer across the region can have a meaningful conversation that enables them to access information and support based on their individual needs”. 

Find out more about the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre in Chesterfield. 

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