On the front lines of the fight against cancer: Nurse Fee Cahill

6 July 2018, Tim Burton

Fidelma (Fee for short) Cahill is a urology nurse at Guy’s Hospital whose work has been turning heads in her hospital and across the country.

Fee’s work to provide for all of the communities that are affected by urology cancer earned her the Nurse of the Year award from TUF in 2016. Since then, she’s pushed on further, working tirelessly to make sure all her patients live as well and as long as possible.

Why was she Nurse of the Year?

Two words: Biobank Storage.

Since she joined the team at Guy’s in 2013, Fee has been driving biobanking in the hospital. A biobank is where biological samples are stored for use in future research. When researchers are able to analyse cancer cells from these biobanks, it provides them with the information they need to unlock the secrets to new treatments and cures for cancer.

Before Fee joined the team, they weren’t recruiting any men to the biobank scheme at all, but now at least a third of prostate cancer patients and an increasing number of male bladder cancer patients are consenting for this.

As well as her work on biobanking, Fee was at the centre of so many studies and research projects that were running out of Guy’s Hospital. All of this is why she won Nurse of the Year and the £1,750 prize money that is designed to help her build her career further.

What did winning this award mean for Fee?

“The impact of this award on me has sparked a confidence to challenge myself and improve the care I deliver to patients,” said Fee.

“Having the money to attend conferences means I am keeping up to date with current research and practice around the world.

“At one conference, I heard about a major study that showed there is a five times greater suicide rate in patients with urological cancers.  This is shocking! Our team are now having discussions with the whole team to ensure we fully address the mental and emotional health and well-being of our patients.

“I also met a Researcher in Scotland and arranged for a teleconference between them and my team where we talked about the unmet needs of our Afro-Caribbean prostate cancer patient population who, from observation, often need more time and support to make treatment decisions.

“As a team, we all have our theories about why this might be, but without evidence, we cannot fully support this group of patients, who, in a London hospital, make up a large number of our patient population.  We are now working together to deliver a review of the current research on this subject, and have made further contacts with various professionals.

“We’re determined to offer the best possible care to all patients who come through our doors and it’s thanks to this award that we’ve been given the opportunity to provide extra support to our Afro-Caribbean community.

“The funding I received has freed up money for junior members of the team to attend conferences, as well. I hope this will provide them with opportunities to meet other junior researchers, inspire their career in urological cancer research and encourage them to take on a more responsible role within our team.

“This experience has taught me that, with a small window of opportunity, you can do so much. Our patients are ALWAYS at the forefront of what we do, and our aim is to always deliver the best care and support that we can, by constantly learning and improving our practice.”

“It’s been an excellent experience for me and my team. We’re all very thankful to TUF for the support they’ve shown to make this happen.

Nurses like Fee are crucial in the fight against urology disease. We applaud her excellent work, the excellent work of her team, and the excellent work of urology nurses across the country who are on the front lines of the fight against urology disease.

If you know a nurse who should be nominated for this award, you can do that here.

If you want to help support nurses like Fee, you can donate to TUF today.


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