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Lisa Magee

Lisa Magee – WT Nightingales - Lisa Magee

Western Trust Nightingales Challenge 2020 Staff Profile: Lisa Magee, North West Cancer Centre, Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry

Tell us about yourself and your work (eg family, job, length of time in post)

My name is Lisa Magee, I am 28 years old and have been a nurse for nearly 8 years now. As well as being a nurse I am also mummy to a little girl and am due to get married next year. I have worked in cancer services since I qualified in 2013, I worked as a staff nurse in the acute oncology and haematology ward for three years before taking up a secondment in the acute oncology team as a triage nurse. At present I am working as Deputy Sister/Pre assessment nurse in Sperrin Outpatients but I have recently secured the Macmillan Practice Educator post within the Cancer Centre which I am very excited to begin.

Why did you choose this job?

Since I first came to Cancer Services as a student I knew I wanted to persue my career in this area. I absolutely love my job, I feel very privileged to care for patients throughout their cancer journey. My favourite part of my current role is educating the patients on the treatment they are about to receive. This is often an emotional encounter with the patient as we discuss the side effects including hair loss. It is a privilege to be able to support them through this challenging time. In my new role I am excited to be able to share my learning with new and established nursing staff within Cancer Services and ensure our team have the expertise they need to continue to provide the best patient care possible.

It has been a particularly challenging couple of months for all health care workers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you explain what has changed in your role? What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?

In response to Covid-19 the cancer centre have introduced screening at the entrance to ensure the safety of patients and staff entering. We have also got a no visiting policy as well as restricting relatives who attend clinic appointments. I have found this a challenge as often during pre-education relatives take in some important factors which patients do not, therefore we have been following up the education with a phone call to the patient’s relative if they feel this would benefit them. Another challenge is wearing PPE throughout the day, it can make staff tire very easily although I understand we are very blessed to have always had an adequate supply of PPE. It has been difficult to reassure staff particularly in the early days in regards to PPE as the guidelines changed frequently so this took a lot of communication with staff.

This is the Year of the Nurse/Midwife and although many plans to celebrate has been significantly curtailed due to COVID – what makes you proud to be playing your role as a nurse/midwife?

Although our plans to celebrate The Year of the Nurse/Midwife have been curtailed, it is great that our Nightingale Challenge continues and we can benefit from the workshops and speakers virtually. I look forward to when we can have our face to face time with the group again but for now I am very impressed as to how the course has not even paused due to Covid-19, it shows the dedication of the course facilitators and all the participants. Having a leadership role and facing the challenges that came with that during the pandemic as well as the support from the GLDP participants and organisers empowered me to apply for another job during this time. I felt overcoming the challenges we faced very rewarding and it inspired me to look for further challenges in my workplace.

All health care staff have risen to the challenges faced by this global pandemic. Many traditional services have had to be stopped or done in a different way either via telephone or virtual clinics. Have you experienced this in your role and how do you think this has or hasn’t worked?

Yes, a lot of virtual telephone consultations have taken place in our department. I have found the virtual clinics to be a benefit to some patients as it saves travel time for them and reduces the anxiety of having to leave home at this time. I am working on introducing virtual clinics via video link to patients who live further away to provide them with pre education without the need for an additional appointment in hospital.

Looking forward to the next year or so – what would you like to see achieved in Health and Social Care?

I believe we have learnt from the covid situation and been able to improve services due to these unfortunate circumstances. I feel the use of virtual clinics being continued would be beneficial to cancer patients; we know their time is often precious so i feel if I could eliminate one journey to hospital for them this would be a step to improving their cancer journey. Not to mention the other benefits it would have including less travel time, reduction in c02 emission, reduced waiting times.

How does your work help in the overall delivery of Health and Social Care services?

I feel at this challenging time patients need to feel safe when they have to come to hospital and I feel I play a part in ensuring this and also reassuring them I am happy to call their relatives and update them on what has happened during their appointments as this is the main worry I feel our patients have during this time. Within my current role I am often nurse assessing patients virtually, this means patients do not have to come to clinic for their nurse assessment so limiting the footfall through our centre while the risk remains high but also ensuring the patients receive the same high standard of care and support.

Please also include any particular personal messages of how you, your colleagues have supported each other during this global health crisis.

We have dedicated a room for staff to go if they feel they need to take off their PPE for a short period during a busy shift. This is called the ‘rainbow room’, we have also introduced an afternoon comfort break. I am very proud of how well we have supported each other and worked so well as a team during this challenging time. Everyone has respected each other’s individual circumstances and worries and done what they can to support each other. We are also very grateful for the support we have received from the community and also the heartfelt thanks we often received from our patients.

What advice would you give to the public on how they can help the NHS deal with the ongoing pandemic in the months ahead?

The advice I would give to the public would be to not become complacent. By following the government guidelines you are not only protecting yourself but protecting our health service. I would also advise people to support each other and do what they can in their community to support the people who need to shield. I feel the pandemic will have a negative effect on a lot of individual’s mental health so I would advise people to stay in touch virtually and look after each other at this difficult time.

Lisa is one of 5 participants who are taking part in the Nightingale Challenge Global Leadership Development Programme . The Nightingale Challenge was launched by Nursing Now – a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, to improve health globally in collaboration with the International Council of Nursing and the World Health Organisation. The Nightingale Challenge asks for every health employer to provide leadership and development training for a group of young nurses and midwives during 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.