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New Primrose Nurse joins Derriford team thanks to local breast care charity

Rachel Wood A new specialist breast care nurse has joined the breast care nursing team at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, thanks to the local breast care charity, The Primrose Foundation.

Rachel Wood, officially took up her new role as ‘Primrose Nurse’ on the 1st April 2017, having just spent a year with the team as maternity cover.

Rachel, who has previously worked in specialist roles within Derriford Hospital, will be supporting patients who have had breast cancer surgery and now need to have follow on treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The new position is a partnership between Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and The Primrose Foundation, who have agreed to fund the specialist role initially for the next two years.

“I am really excited to be taking on this new role of Primrose Nurse and would like to thank the charity for this opportunity to expand the support offered to patients by the breast care nursing team,” said Rachel.

“One of our key roles as breast care specialist nurses is to support women and men from their diagnosis right through to their final treatment. However, as can be found in other areas of the country, there can be gaps in this support, particularly when patients move on from their surgical procedure to needing oncology treatment.

“Whilst care is provided to our patients by the fantastic nursing and consultant teams who work within our Oncology Department, we do recognise that as breast care nurse specialists we can offer the dedicated and consistent support women and men might need throughout their entire treatment pathway.”

Last year, Joanna Terrell, 28 from Plymouth, started her treatment for cancer, after finding a lump in her breast. Whilst Jo has successfully had the lump removed, she is still receiving regular injections and has also had radiotherapy and chemotherapy as part of her treatment.

“I think the support from the breast care nurses is so important,” Jo explained. “They build a one-to-one relationship with you; they get to know you and they know your story. When chemotherapy was first discussed as an option, I refused it initially. I then came in and met with my breast care nurse and we talked it all through. I put all my trust in her.

“I did go ahead with chemotherapy treatment and whilst I was well cared for by the nurses and doctors within the chemotherapy unit, when I wasn’t sure of something or if I had a problem after the treatment, I felt alone and I didn’t know who to turn to or speak to.

“I think this new role is so important,” Jo concluded. “It’s good to know mentally that your nurse is there to support you all the way through your journey.”

The Primrose Foundation raises funds in order to enhance the facilities and services provided in the Primrose Breast Care Centre at Derriford Hospital. This year the centre will mark its 16th year of being open and the Foundation will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“This is a new departure for the charity and one which we are very proud to be making,” added Sue Hobbs, Chair of the Primrose Foundation. “The development of this particular role was largely born out of the vision of the late Dr Steve Kelly, a dedicated Oncologist and esteemed colleague.

“It was Dr Kelly’s vision, as well as the feedback we’d received from patients and staff, which helped inform our decision to fund this position, so as to further enhance our skilled and dedicated breast care nursing team.

“We could not have done this without the help from all who fundraise for us and offer support to us in so many ways, from cake making to cycling the Alps, from footy to fell walking. Thank you all so much for your continued support.”

More than 6,000 women and men will come through the Primrose Unit each year, with over 1,000 people needing support from the breast care nursing team. Of these, 500 people will be diagnosed with and will have surgery for breast cancer and two thirds of these will need further oncology treatments.

To find out more about the Primrose Foundation, visit their website: http://primrosefoundation.org/

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