Finding new ways to shine
Emily, Information and Support Radiographer, Weston Park Cancer Charity.
When cancer changes everything, so can we, even when the pandemic restricts our services. Like everyone, we’ve had to find new ways to work so we can reach people and support them with practical and emotional help when they need it most.
“I really miss being in the support centre and seeing people face to face. I do ‘We Care’ calls – like a regular catch up with patients… they ask me about my life too – sometimes I tell them I’ve been away or been out, and if they’re shielding they want to know all about it. I’m like their connection to the world, like I’m their eyes and ears.
We do more than that too, not just in services like online yoga or mindfulness sessions, but we can give patients general medical information or refer them to specialised support from their clinical nurse, GP or consultant. We can act as advocates for patients who want our help to access the information they need, especially if they are overwhelmed with the other practicalities a cancer diagnosis can bring. That help goes beyond the patient, too, like when we helped a woman who couldn’t attend a consultation with her mum because of restrictions to be ‘in the room’ listening in over the phone, so she felt involved and informed.
When I ask if people are ok and they say ‘yes, I’m alright’, I can tell if there’s something there and we often get to it, somehow. I hope that even though we can’t hug or make them a cup of tea, they feel the support. I think it gives people hope, knowing that we’ll be there, somehow, and one day we’ll be back in the centre. One of my ladies called me a ‘little ray of sunshine’ the other day – that’s what I want us to be…We’ve not had to work like this before and our patients, they’ve not had to live like this. Cancer’s not going away, so neither are we, we’re just finding new ways.”
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