Updated: 6 days ago
Denise Hodges, Support Worker who recently retired as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Medway Hospital to join LASAG has returned to the NHS to support her colleagues during the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past few weeks, we have been keeping in touch with Denise to hear how she is getting on.
We are so grateful to Denise for her service to public health, and look forward to her returning to LASAG to resume her normal duties.
Denise shares her thoughts on returning to the NHS below.
Thank You Denise, and Thank You NHS for taking good care of us.
“If I was told when I left the NHS back in November, that I would be returning less than 6 months later, I would have laughed in disbelief. However, sadly, since then our world has changed so much.
I agreed to go back and help as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer because one of the Lung CNS's had been redeployed to ICU. On entering Medway Hospital for the first time the thing that struck me the most was the eerie silence! Normally when walking through the main entrance of the hospital there are crowds of people hurrying to and from appointments or visiting relatives, there were none. It was quite unnerving. As far as the Mesothelioma/Lung Cancer Service has been concerned, it is mainly business as usual. Diagnostics are still going ahead, and sadly people are still being diagnosed with cancer every day. Unfortunately, clinical trials have been suspended for newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients, which is a shame as there are some great clinical trials on at the moment. However chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy are still being used where appropriate.
The real difference is that wherever possible patients are contacted via telephone, rather than being seen in a face to face clinic, in order to keep them safe. This has made life a little more difficult, especially for patients. It is hard to communicate the news of a cancer diagnosis to patients when you can't see their body language and they can't see yours. You try to reassure them via the telephone but it just isn't the same.
We are all concerned about getting COVID19 but for a mesothelioma or lung cancer patient the thought of getting this disease can be terrifying. One of the first things I did on re-joining the NHS was to contact all of the patients to try and give them as much reassurance as possible at a time when they desperately needed it. I also wanted to ensure that they understood the service was still running and they should use it and call if they were concerned about anything.
From a personal perspective, I have to say that I feel safer going to work at Medway Hospital than I do visiting a supermarket! I’m looking forwards to returning to LASAG soon.”