A day in the life: Ivy Manalang, Staff Nurse
Ivy Manalang, Staff Nurse in the West Wing Clinical Research Centre
I was born and raised in Manila, in the Philippines, and later lived in Dublin, Ireland, before I moved to England. When I began my nursing career in 2015, my dream was to work at The Royal Marsden after I qualified.
I started working here in 2018 and I’ve been here ever since. At first, I worked in the Outpatients Department in Private Care. I was always interested in clinical trials, so I went on to work in Oak Day Care and Oak Ward in the Drug Development Unit.
I now work as a Staff Nurse in the West Wing Clinical Research Centre, which is for patients on early- and late-phase clinical trials. We have treatment bays, consulting rooms, an in-house pharmacy and a dedicated on-site laboratory.
I’m responsible for administering novel therapies to patients enrolled on clinical trials, which can include vaccines, genetically modified compounds and targeted therapies.
I work closely with my fellow nurses, clinical research nurses, our healthcare assistant and our ward sister, and we also coordinate with the clinical research fellows.
First thing in the morning, I have a handover with my colleagues to discuss each patient coming in for their trial treatment that day and if any special tests, such as ECGs or blood samples, are required. Nurses are then allocated a treatment bay and are responsible for caring for the patients scheduled in that bay.
In our daily ‘huddle’, we’ll also talk about feedback, staff training needs and any updates from the Trust. We also use this as an opportunity for teaching about new clinical trials that are opening, led by the practice educator or members of the clinical research team.
Patients arrive at the hospital in the morning for blood tests, before seeing the doctor and waiting for their results. They’ll then have treatment either on the same day or the next day, depending on their trial protocol.
The personal touch
If it’s a patient’s first treatment, we need to ask them some questions to understand what their baseline is. And we will also go through a patient information sheet with them, which explains everything about the clinical trial they are part of.
Having one-to-one time with patients is what I enjoy most about my job. If it’s someone’s first time on a clinical trial, they can be anxious and unsure what to expect, but we are there for them, to help them through.
I like being able to advise them, answer their questions and give them a chance to talk. Getting to know the patients is important, especially if they have a long treatment regime ahead of them. I also really enjoy it when student nurses join our team from time to time, as it’s important for us to share our knowledge and be a mentor.
The Royal Marsden is such a wonderful place to be a nurse; working at a specialist cancer hospital is a great opportunity.