Why I became a Children's Cancer Nurse
Months before her fourth birthday, Amber was diagnosed with Leukemia. Years later, she is now a dedicated staff nurse on the Children's Cancer Unit at Bristol Children's Hospital.
Amber is a staff nurse on the Children’s Cancer Unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital. Like most of the dedicated nurses on the unit who care for young cancer patients, Amber has known for most of her life that this is what she wants to do. However, she has a very special reason for wanting to work on this ward. Read on to hear Amber’s story in her own words.
‘A few months before my 4th birthday in October 1997, my parents had taken me to see my GP who decided to do some blood tests as I had been unwell for a while. After getting the results from my blood tests we were sent straight to Bristol Children’s Hospital where I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
‘Being so young when I was diagnosed, I don’t really remember much about my time spent in hospital. I remember that sometimes it could be scary as I was too young to fully understand what was happening, but most of my memories are happy ones! Playing in the playroom, getting glitter everywhere and going to the school room.
‘In the years that followed my initial treatment, I attended both my local hospital and Bristol Children’s Hospital for my follow up appointments, as well as having a CLIC nurse come to my house to save us the trip to hospital.
‘For as long as I can remember, I have always known that I wanted to be a Children’s Nurse and specialising in Oncology felt like the natural thing for me to do.
‘And so here I am today.
‘I have had the privilege of working on Starlight Ward for three years now since starting my nursing career. We care for children with cancer, leukaemia and those undergoing stem cell transplants.
‘I absolutely love my job and feel very lucky to work with such an amazing team. People often say that they don’t know how you can work with children with cancer, but it is so incredibly rewarding. We are able to build relationships with such brave children and their families throughout the course of their treatment which can help make a very difficult time in their lives just that little bit brighter. Yes, some days are tough, but seeing a child ring the End of Treatment Bell when they finish their treatment is quite simply the best feeling.
‘As well as administering medicines, chemotherapy and blood/platelet transfusions, one of the main parts of our job is spending time with our patients and having fun! Whether it’s LEGO, playing hide and seek or putting their favourite song on the jukebox, whatever it takes to make them laugh or put a smile on their face we’ll give it a go!
‘I believe that my own experiences of treatment as a child inspired me to become a Nurse and I couldn’t ask for a better place to work than Starlight Ward at Bristol Children’s Hospital.’
At The Grand Appeal, we feel so privileged to work in partnership with the Children’s Cancer Unit for over 15 years now, funding world-class medical equipment, play staff, music therapy, parent support, , research and new medical facilities. In doing so, we have had the pleasure of working with the outstanding team members like Amber who pour their energy into providing the very best care to patients, and supporting them and their families through an incredibly tough journey.
If you would like to support the work of the Children’s Cancer Unit, please donate here. You can also visit our ‘Light as a Feather’ sculpture – sponsored by Osborne Clarke and painted by Josh and Aimee Williams, at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, to use the contactless donation point there.