A nurse from one of Europe’s leading cancer centres, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, has been named ‘Oncology Nurse of the Year’ by the British Journal of Nursing.

Lorraine Turner, from Warrington, is an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) working within the field of experimental cancer medicine, a post which is a relatively new phenomenon. When she joined the experimental cancer medicine team (ECMT) at The Christie in 2012 she was the first qualified ANP working within the clinical research facility both at The Christie and nationally.

The British Journal of Nursing Awards acknowledges the enormous contribution individual nurses make towards the development of the profession as a whole. National professional awards such as these shine a light where it is most deserved, and also raise the profile and understanding of how nursing is at the centre of all patient care.

The judges were impressed by Lorraine’s efforts to increase the number of patients at The Christie offered early phase clinical trials. Many of these patients have exhausted all other treatment options and involvement in clinical trials remains their only hope.

Lorraine led an audit looking at patient referral pathways into early phase trials within the ECMT. The results have led to a change in practice and an increase in collaboration amongst disease groups within The Christie. The referral process has been simplified meaning that patients are referred and assessed earlier, and if eligible have the opportunity to gain access to early phase trials.

In order to increase awareness of early phase trials and identify potential patients, Lorraine now works alongside both medical and clinical oncology teams. This initiative offers support to both patients and clinicians in providing information and raising the profile of experimental medicine. Due to her dedication and hard work, more patients than ever are now accessing the latest cancer treatment and care.

Lorraine is now focusing on a nurse led piece of work looking at the holistic care needs of patients referred to the ECMT. This involves assessing patient’s physical symptoms as well as psychological, financial, and spiritual concerns. This will ensure patients who require palliative / supportive care services are referred promptly and receive the best care, support and quality of life possible.

Lorraine said; “I was absolutely overwhelmed to win the award. There is some amazing work going on in the field of oncology nursing as shown by my colleagues who were shortlisted, and to win was both humbling and an honour.

“This really was a team effort from everyone at The Christie. I have amazing and supportive colleagues and our aim is to put the patients at the heart of everything we do. Before I started this piece of work I thought we may be missing some patients who could benefit from early phase trials, now I’m confident we’re offering this cutting edge option to those who need it most. Allowing patients access to information and the opportunity to participate in a Phase I trial is paramount as it is a potential treatment option for patients with advanced cancer’.                 
Jackie Bird, executive director of nursing and quality at The Christie, said; “Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate advanced nurse practitioner and the award is very well deserved. Because of Lorraine’s hard work, a number of patients have gained access to early phase trials that they may not have accessed otherwise. We are very proud of her achievement.”

The Christie is an NIHR/Cancer Research UK Christie Clinical Research Facility. As well as early-phase trials, we conduct later-phase research across a range of disease areas, which may include complex treatment regimes or complicated translational components. All our clinical research teams have access to this facility.