Career advice

Hope on the line

Paula Madden says dealing with young people who have a poor prognosis is always tough

As senior nurse adviser on the Beating Bowel Cancer helpline, former Nursing Standard nurse of the year Paula Madden has a rewarding but often challenging role.‘I really enjoy making a difference to someone’s life and being part of the patient’s whole pathway. But dealing with people who have a poor prognosis, especially when young, can be extremely hard,’ she says.

‘I recently spoke to someone on the helpline who was terminal and the same age as me. She had two young children and wanted to know how to tell them that she wouldn’t always be around. These are tough questions to answer, but it is what patients need to know.’

Ms Madden, who is on a one-year career break from her role as colorectal nurse consultant at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, has almost 30 years’ experience in cancer nursing.

She first became interested

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