UWE graduate wins BJN cancer nurse of the year award

Issue date: 05 April 2013

Radiology nursing sister Alice Bevan, who gained a Master's degree with distinction at UWE Bristol, has just been named oncology and haematology Nurse of the Year at the British Journal of Nursing Awards 2013. Alice won the top award for setting up a unique service to improve the treatment of cancer patients.

Alice, who entered nursing as a postgraduate and works at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, completed her work based learning project at UWE.

In her award-winning project, Alice researched, initiated and evaluated a nurse-led outpatient service for ultrasound-guided drainage of malignant ascites (fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity) in cancer patients. Alice trained to carry out the procedure under the supervision of consultant radiologists along with sonography training at UWE.

She said, “I am very pleased to win this award. This service gives the patients control over treatment. After the initial referral, patients can self-refer for repeat procedures by telephone, directly to the radiology nurses. The service is unique to the best of my knowledge. There are other day-case services in existence, but they tend to take up the whole day, whereas we complete the procedure in two hours.”

Evaluation of the service has been exceptionally positive, from patients, relatives and referrers alike. A patient questionnaire confirmed that the service was valued highly by both patients and referrers, with the outpatient service significantly preferred to in-patient admission for the procedure.

Senior lecturer in nursing at UWE, Clive Warn said, “We are extremely proud of Alice who has excelled in her career so far. This safe and simple technique can provide patients with relief of often distressing symptoms.

“Each appointment gives a unique opportunity for radiology nurses to spend time on a one-to-one basis with a patient. The importance of time and quality in a palliative care context cannot be overestimated.

“An unexpected outcome of this service is that the role extends far beyond the technical aspect of simply removing ascites for comfort, and into the therapeutic role of the nurse. Many patients have been helped with symptoms not otherwise picked up after discharge from acute oncology, including the psychological trauma both for patients and relatives. One patient's family was so appreciative of the service they organised a fund- raising event, raising over £600.”

This service has significantly reduced the costs and time unnecessarily spent on acute wards overnight, and provided flexibility contributing to patient quality of life and care. Alice's project has led to her gaining a distinction in an MSc in Work Based Learning at UWE Bristol, and she aims to disseminate her work to promote change across the country, through conferences and publishing papers.

The BJN awards recognise the contribution individuals make towards the nursing profession and celebrate clinical excellence and innovation. Alice has also been shortlisted for Student Nurse of the Year: Post-registration in the Student Nursing Times Awards 2013.

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