My job

60 seconds with RCN Nurse of the Year Venetia Wynter-Blyth

Step outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to fail, says Venetia Wynter-Blyth.
Venetia Winter-Blyth

Step outside your comfort zone and dont be afraid to fail, says Venetia Wynter-Blyth

Venetia Wynter-Blyth graduated from the University of Southampton with a bachelor of nursing (Hons) degree and has worked in oncology for 15 years. She spent 12 years as an upper gastrointestinal (GI) clinical nurse specialist before taking up her current post as Macmillan nurse consultant in upper GI cancers at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. She was named RCN Nurse of the Year 2016 for creating PREPARE a holistic prehabilitation self-management programme for people with cancer who require surgery.

What are your main work responsibilities? My role is divided between clinical responsibilities, focusing on

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Step outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to fail, says Venetia Wynter-Blyth


Venetia Wynter-Blyth created a holistic ‘prehabilitation’ self-management
programme for cancer patients who require surgery. Picture: Nathan Clarke

Venetia Wynter-Blyth graduated from the University of Southampton with a bachelor of nursing (Hons) degree and has worked in oncology for 15 years. She spent 12 years as an upper gastrointestinal (GI) clinical nurse specialist before taking up her current post as Macmillan nurse consultant in upper GI cancers at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. She was named RCN Nurse of the Year 2016 for creating PREPARE – a holistic ‘prehabilitation’ self-management programme for people with cancer who require surgery. 

What are your main work responsibilities?  
My role is divided between clinical responsibilities, focusing on patients with oesophago-gastric (OG) cancer and the PREPARE for surgery programme, and research, education and service development. 

What do you love about your job? 
Knowing that you are in a position to influence people’s lives for the better is a privilege. I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and carers and interacting with them on multiple levels throughout the cancer pathway. 

What do you find most difficult? 
Due to an under-resourced NHS, we are constantly having to negotiate challenges and create new ways of working that are both effective and resourceful. 

What is your top priority at work?
Delivering high quality patient care and ensuring the service is responsive to patient need, and promoting positive change through innovation in patient-centred care and collaborative teamwork. 

How have you developed your skills in this role? 
Undertaking a quality improvement leader fellowship with the National Institute for Health Research enabled me to better understand and use the principles of patient and clinical engagement, as well as improvement science methodology and drivers and barriers to improvement in healthcare.

What has been your most formative career experience? 
One of my proudest achievements is establishing the PREPARE programme. This was born out of a desire to extend peri-operative assessment beyond the traditional model of co-morbidity towards patient engagement and holistic optimisation. 

What is the best lesson nursing has taught you? 
The importance of effective communication, interdisciplinary work and collective competence. Everyone has a different perspective and when we collaborate and work together as a cohesive team, we deliver the biggest impact. 

What career advice would you give your younger self? 
Don’t be afraid of failure and step outside your comfort zone. My husband always says ‘fortune favours the bold’, although this is often easier said than done. 

If you hadn’t become a nurse, what would you have done instead? 
It may sound boring, but I don’t think I would or could be anything else. I am immensely proud of the nursing profession. 

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