Blood cancer patients in the North West will get better support after a bone marrow transplant, thanks to the appointment of a pioneering specialist nurse at The Christie.
Trina Quillinan, 29, from Oldham, has been appointed to a joint role working at both The Christie and Manchester Royal Infirmary. She becomes just the third post-transplant specialist nurse to be appointed in the UK by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
Trina will support patients with leukaemia and other blood cancers and blood disorders who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants.
Commenting on her appointment Trina said: "The staff and patients I have met at The Christie have been very friendly and welcoming and have helped me to adjust to my role working across two hospital sites. The atmosphere at The Christie is a very nice one, and one I am pleased to be a part of. I am very fortunate to work with a team who strive to improve patient care and every professional is a key person in the team, delivering the best patient care we possibly can."
A bone marrow transplant is just the beginning of the journey to recovery for blood cancer or blood disorder patients. Many will experience severe physical and emotional complications in the months that follow. There will be an estimated 16,076 people living with the long-term effects of a stem cell transplant over the next five years.
Trina explained: "Patients don't just have medical needs after a transplant, such as graft vs host disease - they might also need help with getting back to work or school, housing or financial issues, emotional concerns about the illness returning as well as ongoing issues like fatigue, loss of appetite and even fertility."
Trina will be a dedicated point of contact for post-transplant patients at The Christie once they have been allowed to go home, and will offer specialist support and advice.
She will also be able to refer patients to other services, such as dieticians, and to help them overcome any physical and psychological difficulties they experience after their transplant.
Trina, who has worked in haematology for nine years, including working on transplant wards, said: "It's amazing really, the support we can offer patients.
"I really enjoy working with stem cell transplant patients and following them through their journey and I strongly believe in helping people post-transplant to adjust to their 'new normal'."
She added: "It is very reassuring for patients having us here for the whole journey, it gives them some continuity and they know that if they are worried about anything they can just pick up the phone. That's vital and helps us to give people the best quality of life possible."
Trina also intends to hold health and wellbeing events for patients, during which they will receive advice about getting back to work, diet and exercise tips and have the opportunity to meet other patients.
Trina said: "It is really rewarding when you see someone through a transplant and their quality of life starts to improve. That helps not only the patient, but also their family.
"This job allows me to see the really positive side of transplants and that is really exciting."
Dr Adrian Bloor, Consultant Haematologist and Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Programme at The Christie said: "We are delighted that Trina will be working with our patients in the future as a post-transplant specialist nurse to help them recover from bone marrow transplants and get their lives back on track after an often gruelling process.
"The Christie is a leading centre for treating patients with blood cancers. We have a major bone marrow and stem cell transplant unit and a cutting edge research programme. This appointment will allow us to further improve the care given to our patients."