In this short video, we follow Clare Churcher, a Gynae-Oncology Clinical Specialist Nurse at Velindre Cancer Centre Cardiff, and a graduate of the adult nursing degree, the BSc Cancer Care, the Postgraduate Certificate in Palliative Care and the MSc Professional Practice courses at USW.
We see what is involved in Clare's job as a cancer nurse and meet one of her patients, Lynda.
"I came into nursing in my 30s," said Clare.
"It was my friend, Deb, who gave me the confidence to apply. I was working as a wedding coordinator at the time, and Deb had cancer. I used to pop around to see her and joke that she was too lazy to put the hoover round.
She said: ‘You’re the only person who treats me like a person, not the disease.’
My family fell about laughing and thought I was joking when I told them I wanted to become a nurse. My mother, a nurse herself, said: ‘You don’t even like hospitals!’ But she did concede that I was good with people. I have always been good at listening - as well as talking!
Throughout my nurse training, oncology was all I’d ever wanted to do. At University, my lecturer, palliative care specialist Maria Parry, inspired me, believed in me and gave me a strong role model for the kind of nurse I aspired to be.
I qualified in 2008 and was very fortunate to go straight into my dream job in oncology at Velindre.
People think being a cancer nurse is depressing, but nothing could be further from the truth.
I love my job, and I love going into work every day. You’re never going to be able to help everyone, and not everyone will get better, but you can make a big difference - and knowing this is what drives me to do this job, and do it with every ounce of passion and energy I have.
Lynda is coming up to her five-year discharge in August, and will be having her last appointment at Velindre. She said of her recovery: 'I couldn’t have done it without you. You aren’t just my nurse, you are my angel, you are my friend.'
I am so glad I had the courage to change careers in my thirties. If you’ve ever thought about nursing, please don’t let people put you off or say you can’t do it, because if I can do it, anyone can."
If you've been inspired by Clare's story, you can apply to study Nursing at USW this September. We have places for Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disabilities Nursing - NHS Bursary available. Visit our next Open Day to find out more.