Announcing our Urology Nurse of the Year

14/01/2020

nurse-of-the-year

At the BAUN (British Association of Urological Nurses) Conference in Liverpool, Ms Louisa Fleure, from Guy’s Hospital in London, was awarded The Urology Foundation’s ‘Urology Nurse of the Year’ award in November 2019. Here Ian Le Guillou finds out how her hard work is benefitting men living with advanced prostate cancer.

Louisa is the Lead Uro-oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London. She has been working with her team to provide information and support to men with advanced prostate cancer through a programme called the ‘Advanced prostate cancer club’.

The club offers a wide range of social activities including art classes, walking groups and days out. “It is a social thing, but there’s a lot of support too. We have something called ‘grave talk’, including a palliative nurse, an undertaker and a chaplain to talk about what happens when you die.”

Quickly, Louisa could start to see the impact that the club was having.

“In the clinic, people would say, ‘my wife’s said that’s the first time that I’m talking about what’s going on’, or ‘it’s the first time I’ve been able to talk to another man about how I’m feeling’,” she says.

“It took on a life of its own. We’re still collecting feedback, but the big themes that have come through are about the friendship, support and meeting people in the same boat.”

“Some people don’t want to come to something called a support group – it sounds too touchy-feely.”

The club began with an educational seminar called Healthy Hormones, which covered many different aspects of life, including diet, exercise and side effects.

“Then one of our patients left £50,000 in a legacy, which was to support palliative care for men with prostate cancer,” Louisa recalls.

Making the club accessible to all

Louisa put in a successful bid for the funding and ran focus groups to see what men wanted from a programme. The result was the advanced prostate cancer club.

The Nurse of the Year award comes with a £1,750 grant to attend a relevant conference or course. “I really want to explore how to engage people who are traditionally hard-to-reach. What you realise is that there are some people who come to everything and that’s great. But for me, what’s important is the people who don’t come and what it is that they need,” Louisa says.

“I know from my experience that there are patients who need something and for some reason can’t or won’t access it.”

Louisa has already made changes to encourage a broader range of patients to take part: “When we looked at the evaluation, we noticed it was quite white, even though we have a large number of Afro-Caribbean patients.”

Louisa spoke to some of the men who did not come to the events. “They said that they didn’t want to come to something called ‘cancer’ or ‘support’. But they would like to do something practical, like exercise. So we’ve set up an exercise class, and we now see more men coming along.”

Nurses play a vital role in the treatment and care of urology patients. If you would like to help us fund more nurses like Louisa, you can donate today. We couldn’t do it without you.