Because we care
Our nurses embody what The Royal Marsden stands for and are all dedicated to delivering excellent care. Here, nine of our nurses share why they love their roles
Nikki Hunter, Clinical Nurse Specialist
Nikki Hunter, Clinical Nurse Specialist
I first worked at The Royal Marsden in the 1980s, then left to start a family. I studied for a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees but found that I missed nursing, so in 2006, I started a ‘return to nursing practice’ course.
I came back as a staff nurse and am now a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). I work full-time, with my week split between the skin and immunotherapy teams.
The CNS is the patient’s safety net. Cancer treatments can be likened to walking a tightrope, and my role is to ensure that my patients cross safely. If they do stumble, I am there to catch them and help them back onto their pathway.
Charlotte Wilson, Operating Department Practitioner
Patients going for surgery will meet with the anaesthetist and I to go through a number of safety and identity checks and to have their anaesthetic drip put in. As an anaesthetic practitioner, it’s my job to make sure we’re providing a safe environment for surgery.
My mantra is, “if you pack an umbrella, it won’t rain”. I think this applies to anaesthetics: if you’re prepared for every possible eventuality, everything will go smoothly. One of the things I love about working here is the number of patients who say “ thank you” to everyone just before they go under general anaesthetic.
I think this shows that our patients feel well looked after and have every confidence in us. I also love the look of relief when I wake a patient and reassure them that surgery went well.
Kaljit Kaur, Advanced Nurse Practitioner
In February this year, I relocated from the northeast of England, where I’d worked at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust for 17 years, to join the urology team here.
The Royal Marsden’s prestigious reputation makes it a special place to work. In addition to my clinical role, it’s exciting to be working in a world-leading research organisation.
Diagnostic, educational and training opportunities are all incorporated within my job plan, allowing for a varied and constantly evolving role. I work alongside our medical staff daily to manage our inpatients and any acute issues that may arise. We deliver gold-standard treatment with patients at the centre of it – I am honoured to be a part of that.
The Royal Marsden’s a special place to work... I’m honoured to be a part of it
Ramon Zapardiel, District Nurse, Community Services
I joined The Royal Marsden’s Community Services division in September 2016. I really value the one-to-one relationships I have with patients, many of whom I see regularly, and that I get to deal with a broad variety of health issues.
I can go into a patient’s house for one thing, and find that there’s something different they also need help with.
I'm from Spain, where I studied to be an accountant. When I moved to the UK 22 years ago, I took the opportunity to retrain in a completely different sector. I went into nursing partly because there was financial assistance available, but I haven’t looked back. It was definitely the right choice for me.
Kirsty Simms, Senior Staff Nurse
I joined Bud Flanagan Ambulatory Care at The Royal Marsden in 2011. Having come from an A&E department, I found it incredibly rewarding that I could build a rapport with patients, and that every patient really needed me.
I gave birth to my daughter three years ago, and returned to work here – I do two long days a week while she attends the on-site nursery. I feel so lucky to have a job that I love, to feel valued and respected as a part-time worker, and to have training and career progression opportunities.
It’s the ideal work-life balance. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever leave The Royal Marsden.
I find building a rapport with patients incredibly rewarding...I don't think I'll ever leave The Royal Marsden
Maria Lakin, Team Leader, Cedar Lodge Short Breaks
I’m a learning disability nurse working at Cedar Lodge in Sutton, as part of The Royal Marsden’s Community Services division. Children with learning disabilities and complex health needs stay with us for short periods to give their parents and carers a break.
The children have lots of fun joining their friends and taking part in activities, such as going on trips to the cinema or seaside, or spending time in our sensory room. Children stay on a regular basis, so we get to know them, their family and their individual needs really well.
We liaise with their schools and other health and social care professionals to ensure all their needs are met during their stay.
Filipe Carvalho, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Colorectal Department
I’m originally from Portugal, and moved to London for the better career opportunities. I’ve worked at The Royal Marsden for eight years across roles on Burdett Coutts Ward and as a clinical site practitioner. I’m due to complete a master’s degree in Advanced Practice in Clinical Cancer Care this year. I’m also the Lead Nurse for gastrostomy devices.
My day starts early, when I review patients and find out how their night was. I make sure they are aware of their care plans and that their recovery is going as well as possible. I’m also involved in training staff. My managers have encouraged and motivated me to develop my career, and I hope I can pass that on.
My managers have encouraged and motivated me to develop my career
Steve Scholtes, Matron
I oversee the Burdett Coutts and Ellis wards, managing two teams of clinical nurse specialists and two ward sisters. I usually split my time between being on the wards, providing guidance and support for the ward sisters, and attending meetings or working on projects – for example, writing policies and procedures to increase safety and reduce risk.
I started here as a senior staff nurse, then progressed to matron. I’ve been encouraged to develop continuously, and gained bachelor’s and master’s degrees here. The best part of my job is developing teams and individuals to be the best they can be. I find mentoring the next generation of nurses incredibly rewarding.
Beccy Ulrich, Staff Nurse, Private Care
I work full-time with private patients on Wiltshaw Ward in Chelsea. As well as looking after our patients’ daily needs, I support their families, too.
If they can go home at night fully aware of what is happening and reassured that their loved one is receiving the best possible care, they can get some rest and come back the next day re-energised and ready to support the patient.
I deal with a lot of international patients, especially Arabic speakers. We have advocates to translate and mediate, but I’ve learned some basic nursing terms. Simply being able to say “hello” in a patient’s language helps build a rapport.