Monday, 16 October 2017

The study day empowered me to deliver better professional development to colleagues to improve patient outcomes - Laura McNab

Laura McNab, clinical practice facilitator for haematology

Laura McNab
The Palatine Ward is part of the Palatine Treatment Centre. We provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for cancers of the blood and lymphatic system which involves haematology and oncology newly diagnosed and transplant patients.

The expert team I’m part of utilises the most advanced methods to treat patients with haematological or malignant diseases. The unit is dedicated to the delivery of advanced research combined with the highest quality care. The work we do can be life-changing and life-saving for patients at The Christie.

As a clinical practice facilitator in the unit it’s my role to support the continued professional development of nurses and healthcare assistants, induction of new starters and daily clinical practice of all core staff. I help to deliver change, empower my colleagues, ensure that we are at the leading edge of best practice, champion clinical skills and prioritise education in the clinical area. This is with the aim of helping to maintain the highest quality patient care and patient outcomes, governed by national and local policies, and to provide a robust haematology and transplant training plan.

I’ve done this educational role since June 2016, but have been a specialist nurse since 2014 and have worked specifically in haematology for seven years at The Christie.

Having first qualified as a nurse 10 years ago it was a big decision to decide to commit to undertaking a master’s module in the Principles of Haematology through The University of Manchester.

The programme consisted of an assignment and attendance at seven full study days, one of those being an external conference hosted at The Christie – and open nationally to all multidisciplinary members.

Whilst I wanted to consolidate my knowledge formally, I had been a little hesitant to partake in formal study again before finally signing up to the master’s module. The thought of having to do an assignment worthy of higher educational standards was daunting enough but I kept asking myself if I will actually learn much during the period of the course.

I had been lucky enough to attend several haematology study days during my career in-house and nationally, and even more fortunate to experience some international conferences too. I asked myself how just another seven day’s study could build on what I already knew. But my inner academic ego kept niggling at me and convinced me to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the programme has made a big difference to the work I do and have never looked back since!

The programme provided exposure to specialist and cutting edge knowledge and I firmly believe I am now a more confident and informed specialist nurse, being able to share this knowledge and advise colleagues, help problem solve and aspire to provide the best possible standards of care for patients suffering from haematological conditions.

My cohort on the master’s module consisted of a multidisciplinary group and it was a great atmosphere to facilitate shared learning and interesting group discussions - finally getting the chance to ask all those questions I wished I had previously asked and not dared too since!

The most useful part of the module was the national haematology study day, hosted by The Christie. This brought together leading consultants, specialist nurses and allied health professionals from The Christie to share their world class knowledge with a wider audience. The study day also included some big name speakers from across the country to share their remarkable work.

The study day provided a comfortable and relaxed environment within the newly renovated education centre at The Christie’s School of Oncology, with plenty of opportunities to network with contemporaries, speakers, charities and sponsors.

By taking part in this master’s module and the study day, I felt empowered with new knowledge to be able to make a difference with what I had learnt and to further support the education and training of colleagues in the Haematology and Transplant Unit at The Christie.

Before doing the module I had a good level of haematology knowledge, but having completed it I have been inspired to keep on learning. Despite the everyday demands and clinical duties of my role I feel it is important to be continuously learning so as to be able to support the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Study days are the perfect way to keep up to date and I will certainly be booking onto more study days at The Christie again, including the for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and Teenage & Young Adults study day on 20th November 2017 at The Christie School of Oncology.

Speaking at the Haematology study day

Principles of Haematology Oncology is a 15 credit module that can be taken independently or as part of a Specialist Practice in Cancer MSc delivered by The Christie School of Oncology in collaboration with The University of Manchester.

If you would like more details of courses available at The Christie School of Oncology, please visit

Monday, 2 October 2017

Like our NHS partners, high quality patient care is at the heart of everything we do - Annette Weatherley

Annette Weatherley, chief nursing officer, The Christie Clinic

Annette Weatherley
As the new chief nursing officer of The Christie Private Care, part of HCA Healthcare UK, patients are at the heart of everything I do, and my role is to ensure that outstanding care is delivered in a safe environment whilst also facilitating continuous improvement.  

As the new chief nursing officer of The Christie Private Care, part of HCA Healthcare UK, patients are at the heart of everything I do, and my role is to ensure that outstanding care is delivered in a safe environment whilst also facilitating continuous improvement. 

I’m passionate about nursing and the delivery of the best patient experience and outcomes. I believe that excellence in care is achieved through the creation of an open and honest, supportive culture in which we constantly reflect and learn from patients, situations and each other.

I’m responsible for ensuring the provision of robust clinical and managerial leadership to a team of nurses that will enable them to deliver high standards of professionalism at all times. On a regular basis, I’ll be interacting with the senior management and nursing team from The Christie to share our plans and ideas relating to future service development and ways we can continue to support each other going forward.

Prior to my current position, I’ve worked for a variety of NHS Trusts across the region, most recently at University Hospital South Manchester as deputy chief nurse, and also spent time at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust early on in my career as a newly qualified staff nurse and then as a clinical nurse specialist in gynae oncology, so I’ve first-hand experience of the fantastic work that goes on here at the Trust. 

At The Christie Private Care, we’re really proud of the joint venture and ongoing collaboration between HCA Healthcare UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust which commenced in June 2010.  We were chosen, by the Trust, as its private partner, bringing together our shared expertise in cancer care to provide a private cancer service and greater patient choice. We also have vast experience working with the NHS and are the largest provider of private cancer care in Britain.

I’m asked on a frequent basis what the acronym HCA stands for. We are part of The Hospital Corporation of America which is the largest independent healthcare provider in the world with more than 160 operational sites in the U.S., six London-based hospitals, more than 20 satellite clinics and currently six joint venture facilities. HCA Healthcare UK also operates a private clinical trials unit called Sarah Cannon Research Institute UK. 

Our joint venture sites in the UK are managed under a separate division called HCA Healthcare UK Joint Ventures. There are currently three of these in the North West; The Christie Private Care, The Manchester Institute of Health & Performance and HCA Healthcare UK at The Wilmslow Hospital.

At The Christie Private Care, we are fully integrated into the campus at The Christie and have a number of units across the site. We have dedicated outpatient facilities, a chemotherapy day care unit with 15 chemotherapy chairs and dedicated inpatient facilities based in the Oak Road Treatment Centre. This includes 28 in-patient rooms and six dedicated haematology rooms that are suitable for patients with acute haematological cancers or who require bone marrow transplantation. There is also a dedicated linear accelerator within the radiotherapy department that allows us to provide the full patient pathway.

Like our NHS partners, high quality patient care is at the heart of everything we do. We strive to provide every patient with individualised and supportive care, by providing access to innovative cancer treatments under the care of leading expert consultants, the vast majority of who practice at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. Our partnership with the Trust allows us to offer a unique environment for private patients where our sole focus is cancer care. 

Our unique partnership also provides significant additional financial resources for the Trust. Around £25million income has been generated over the last six years, which allows The Christie to reinvest and develop services, ultimately benefiting NHS patients.

Because our patients have access to alternative funding streams, such as medical insurance or can self-pay, The Christie Private Care, also helps to relieve patient demand pressures placed upon the NHS within a climate of increasing demand, an ageing population, and limited funding. Many of our consultants, nurses, staff and patients have supported The Christie charity over the years with numerous fundraising activities. We were also the main sponsors of last year’s annual charity ball which raised more than £100,000.

Our radiotherapy department also provides experiential learning to graduates who wish to pursue an NHS career and are currently searching for employment. We allow them to register for temporary employment as a bank staff member which enables them to build up their clinical and technical knowledge. In fact, our radiotherapy team was recently recognised at the prestigious Laing and Buisson Independent Healthcare Sector Awards for personalisation of the patient journey. 

My aim for The Christie Private Care is to ensure that our unique partnership with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust continues to go from strength to strength, further enhancing patient care and experience across the board. We will be working hard to introduce new services and strive to achieve excellence in all we do, and as a nurse leader, my aspiration is to model the way and positively influence the nursing culture and practice at The Christie Private Care.