'Keep everything in perspective': Teenage Cancer Trust nurse consultant Sue Morgan
Sue Morgan, Teenage Cancer Trust nurse consultant and lead nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, on her passion for this ever-changing specialty
Sue Morgan, Teenage Cancer Trust nurse consultant and lead nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, on her passion for this ever-changing specialty.
What does your job involve?
I lead the development and work of the team and support the direction of the work undertaken in Leeds Principal Treatment Centre and across the Humber and Yorkshire region.
Why did you choose to specialise in working with children and young people with cancer?
In my first role as a registered sick children’s nurse (RSCN), I was placed on a paediatric oncology ward. I was initially daunted by this, having had a brother who had leukaemia. But once I started it soon felt like home.
What might you have done otherwise?
I have never thought of doing anything else!
Where did you train?
University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. First as a state registered nurse in 1976, and then as an RSCN in 1982. I then did an MA in independent practice at Leeds.
Where have you worked previously?
I trained and worked in Cardiff for 13 years, working on the paediatric oncology unit (POU) as a staff nurse and sister. Then later at the Royal Marsden Hospital for six years, again in paediatric oncology. I then moved to Leeds, where I was a ward sister on the POU, becoming the Macmillan clinical nurse specialist for teenagers and young adults with cancer in 1998, before taking on my current role in 2008.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Working in a multidisciplinary team with a single aim of improving services and experiences for young people. I’m in a privileged position as the secretary of Teenagers and Young Adults (TYAs) with Cancer (TYAC), the UK's only membership body for professionals involved in the care of TYAs. As secretary I can have some influence on national developments and improvements.
What is the greatest challenge?
Educating other professionals that TYAs with cancer have specific needs. TYAC and Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) have done a lot of excellent work in bringing this to the attention of policy makers, but the challenge continues.
What would you change about your career if you could?
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
I will be retired. But I would still like to be involved, working with charities, like TYAC, doing this vital work.
What qualities do you think a good cancer nurse should possess?
Resilience, thoughtfulness, compassion and team spirit.
What inspires you?
The young people, other professionals and helping to make a difference.
Outside work what do you enjoy?
Spending time with family and friends, and visiting Northumberland - my favourite place in the UK.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Working alongside charities such as TYAC and TCT – watching them grow, develop and shape the evolving specialty of TYA cancer. I’m also proud of the team in Leeds - we have achieved so much together.
What advice would you give to a newly-qualified cancer nurse?
It’s challenging and it’s tough - seek support from your fellow nurses and keep everything in perspective. You can make a difference.