Gynaecology Oncology news and patient stories

Award for gynae nurse whose innovative work is 'lifeline' for women

Sam Foster, Gynae Clinical Nurse Specialist at Royal Derby Hospital, has been awarded the Making a Digital Difference Award

A Clinical Nurse Specialist whose hard work and passion for her patients has provided a ‘lifeline’ for women recently diagnosed with cancer, has won an award for her innovative work.

Sam Foster, Gynae Clinical Nurse Specialist at Royal Derby Hospital, has been awarded the Making a Digital Difference Award for her work that has seen her introduce and lead on various digital platforms that have improved communication and patient experience for ladies with Gynaecological cancer.

The hard work started during the covid pandemic and has provided a ‘lifeline’ for patients who need access to services and emotional support following their diagnosis.

As part of the innovation, Sam has established a UHDB Gynaecology Oncology webpage and created a virtual support group, Gynae oncology telephone log to make information more accessible for patients.

She said: “I am really surprised about the award but very proud. It has been hard work but it’s all for the patients.

“We have been offering a lot more support over the phone recently especially because of covid and even though it took a lot of time to get up and running, the phone log has been invaluable.

“We can have a chat with the patients whenever they need and we can use the log to briefly note what we discussed and then it is available for the consultants to view aswell which helps with continuity for the patients.

“It’s a lifeline for them knowing that they are not on their own. They know they can get to us on the phone, or via email or the online support group our team has set up.”

Sam said the variety of platforms which the patients can access means that they can be there for the patient at their time of need, even if not in person.

She said: “We have ladies that will email us a few times a week and others will sometime message at midnight on a Saturday just to get out how they are feeling and feel listened to.

“The patient might feel ok during the day when they have support and family around them but we find that at night they feel more worried and alone and that’s when they reach out.

“It’s really powerful because there is a lot of emotion and sensitivity in the work we do and it can mean so much for them to just release any of their thoughts and worries in a safe way.”

Debbie Loke, Director of Digital/CIO presented Sam with the Making a Digital Difference Award and said it was all the behind the scenes work that Sam did that deserves to be recognised.

She said: “It was the transformation programme over such a length of time that stood out with Sam’s nomination, it wasn’t just a single piece of work.

“Sam started this at the beginning of the pandemic to help patients who couldn’t get to the hospital site so they could be helped virtually and that’s really important.

“The patients are at the heart of what we do and Sam’s work has really shown that their needs were her priority.”

Sam’s colleague Claire Hill, Lead Gynaecology Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, also praised Sam and said the whole team is really proud of her.

Claire said: “The time she has put in is amazing and as a team we are really proud.”

As part of Sam’s ongoing efforts she has been instrumental in establishing a webpage which acts as a central hub of information and support for ladies to access. The page provides information relating to scans, investigations, diagnostic procedures and treatments as well as support tools and resources.

Sam also filmed and created a virtual tour of department along with what to expect in each department which helps to take some of the 'unknown' anxieties away. 

In response to the pandemic Sam and her team created a Virtual Support Group that runs once a month and a Gynae Oncology telephone log within Lorenzo which allows the team to document important telephone discussions with patients.

Kerry O’Reilly is the Lead Nurse for Informatics. She said Sam’s efforts demonstrate “what digital innovation is all about.’

She said: “Sam has put the needs of the patient first and thought about what they couldn’t do due to Covid and the result is a really good piece of work.

“This is what digital innovation is all about. It supports the existing digital tools we have in place and bring benefits to the patient.”

If you would like to nominate a colleague or team for a Monthly Making a Difference Award, please let us know.

There are four monthly Making a Difference Awards categories:

  • Chief Executive Award – chosen by our CEO
  • Patient Hero Award – nominated by patients
  • Team UHDB Award – you can nominate your team or another team
  • Excellent Employee Award – you can nominate your colleagues

You can send a 300 word nomination, along with the name of the team or individual, their job title and where they work, to:

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