A Macmillan nurse based in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has received an award for her work to improve the lives of palliative ovarian cancer patients, as well as a prestigious fellowship.
Sharon Manning, Macmillan gynaecology clinical nurse specialist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, was presented with the Macmillan Innovation Excellence Award at the ceremony last Thursday.
This category celebrates the people whose vision and commitment has made a lasting difference to the quality of services offered to people affected by cancer.
It was a double triumph for Sharon as she went on to receive a highly acclaimed Macmillan Fellowship Award during the same evening.
The fellowship is awarded to inspirational professionals who set the highest standards and demonstrate leadership in their field.
Fellows have access to a grant to further their already outstanding work, increased learning and development and they contribute strategically to Macmillan.
Sharon, who was inspired to train as a cancer nurse after working as a healthcare support worker, developed a pioneering service to improve the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer who are at the end of life.
Women with advanced ovarian cancer can suffer from a build-up of ascitic fluid from their abdomens once they stop having chemotherapy, or if the fluid stops reacting to the chemotherapy.
As well as affecting self-image and confidence, this build-up can cause physical side effects such as breathlessness, loss of appetite and loss of physical ability.
After researching methods to help these patients, Sharon found out about the cutting-edge permanent catheters.
She pushed for funding and worked closely with colleagues in other areas to source these catheters and develop a life-changing service that allows patients to have the fluid drained more regularly from their abdomen at home.
As well as dramatically improving the quality of life of patients, the innovative service has also saved at least £68,000 on hospital admissions. It is currently being rolled out in North Wales.
“For ovarian cancer patients, the effects of ascitic fluid build-up can be huge” says Sharon.
“The weight of the fluid is enormous, and people feel like their cancer is taking over their lives.
“When you’re repeatedly putting drains into patients in hospital, their skin in their abdomen becomes tougher, and it can become very painful for them.
“I thought, “There must be something better than this’, so I went away and did some research, and that’s where the idea came from.“It was fantastic to have a flicker of a vision and then to make it actually happen.”
Beryl Robert, Lead Cancer Nurse for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: ‘’Sharon is an Exceptional Clinical Nurse Specialist within her speciality. She always goes the extra mile to support her patients and their families.
““She was also the winner of the New Ways of Working award at our annual staff achievement awards, which recognises her efforts to introduce new, improved treatment for patients across North Wales.”