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Spiritual and psychological support: the nurse-led team helping people cope with cancer

Nurse counsellors lead the pastoral care services at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital
Sara Lister

Nurse counsellors lead the pastoral care services at the Royal Marsden Hospital

As head of pastoral care and psychological support at one of the UK’s leading cancer hospitals, Sara Lister has a lot of responsibilities.

She manages the department that provides spiritual and psychological support to patients, families and staff at London’s Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. She also co-edits the respected Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures, and teaches nursing students.

Her remit is broad, including the hospital’s chaplaincy service, liaison psychiatry, staff counselling and the patient advice and liaison service.

But her favourite part of the job is when for a quiet hour it is just her and a patient. ‘It’s the best


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