The best job ever
In 2012, Hope Against Cancer opened a dedicated clinical trials facility at Leicester Royal Infirmary. For the first time, cancer patients from across the East Midlands region had the opportunity to take part in clinical trials. Since then, thousands of patients have participated in various trials that can lead to new treatments and medicines being discovered in the future. We spoke to Hope Research Nurse, Chrissie Masterson to find out what it is like to work at the Facility, and to find out what difference it makes to the patients that take part in the trials.
“I recruit patients to take part in the clinical trials, liaise with the doctors, and treat the patients,” Chrissie explained. “I am there as a point of contact with the patients and provide them with support, advise them if they become unwell, arrange reviews with the doctor, and admissions.”
Chrissie joined the Facility two years ago, after working in the Chemotherapy Suite at the hospital. She supports the trials for breast and lung cancers, and believes that those who take part benefit from the experience.
She said: “I joined the Facility because I thought it would be interesting work but most of all it was the patients involved in the trials that sold it to me. I liked what I saw – that Hope was providing a good service to the patients taking part in the clinical trials.
“The treatment is more personal when someone takes part in a clinical trial – they have peace of mind as they are more closely monitored, seen by a doctor more frequently, and their treatment can be adapted to changing circumstances. The best thing for me is having a one to one relationship with patients, and knowing that our influence helps and supports them and their families.”
The Facility has two consultation rooms offering patients the privacy to talk to a nurse or doctor about anything that may be concerning them, as well as eight treatment chairs and a bed for overnight stays. It is a welcoming place, with patients seeing it not just as a place where they receive treatment but where they have the opportunity to get together and share experiences.
Chrissie added: “Hope is an absolutely fantastic charity – it has such a positive impact on those whose lives have been affected by cancer. Without places like this carrying out clinical trials, treatments for cancer wouldn’t improve. It makes things better for local people and beyond. This is the best job I have ever done!”