Cancer nurse gives best care she can after personal tragedy with the illness
A cancer nurse is motivated to give the best care she can to her patients after experiencing personal tragedy with the illness.
Stephanie Cleaver said she's "motivated to be the best" to help her patients because her dad died of bowel cancer and her mum is currently undergoing her own battle with breast cancer. Stephanie said her parents' diagnoses "made me want want to stay in cancer nursing and it motivates me to be the best nurse I can be".
Stephanie, a lead nurse at the specialist Rutherford Cancer Centre North West based in Edge Lane, has shared an insight into the realities of working in cancer care two years on from the pandemic. She said nurses have gone "way beyond medical care" as patients have undergone the terrifying journey without family support because of the restrictions.
The 34-year-old from Speke said: "As a cancer nurse you need to be compassionate and you need to provide a lot of support – every patient is going through their own personal journey and it is our job to ensure we make it as comfortable as possible for them.
“During the height of the pandemic, patients weren’t able to bring a friend or family member to their appointments. As a nurse your intuition is to comfort your patient, and working in these conditions where we couldn’t provide any physical support that they’d normally have from a loved one made it unbelievably tough."
Stephanie said she "couldn't imagine doing anything else" and has wanted to be a nurse since she was a child. She left school at 16 to go straight to university, qualifying when she was 21.
She said although her personal loss to cancer is "hard to deal with" she feels she is in a position to provide a better support network to the patient. As a systemic anti-cancer therapy nurse Stephanie is with patients on their whole journey starting when they first come into the centre.
She added: “The most rewarding part is getting to see a patient ring the bell after treatment is complete. As challenging as oncology nursing can be, there are moments of triumph that oncology nurses are privileged to experience alongside patients.”
On International Nurses Day Stephanie has urged people to access diagnostic services - especially as more late stage cancers have been diagnosed because of the pandemic. She said: "I want patients to know there is a massive support network here for them.
"If you suspect something, give yourself the best possible chance and know that you will have the support from us every step of the way."