"Around 80 per cent of my time is spent with patients who have
prostate problems as I support several urology consultants dealing
with prostate surgery, and referrals for radiotherapy and
brachytherapy. It's a big role that I've been in for less than a
year. Sometimes it can feel like I've been thrown in at the deep
end a bit!
"However in the short time I've been in post I have taken over
the running of two clinics including The Erectile Dysfunction
Clinic which assesses and supports men who are struggling to get
erections after having a radical prostatectomy (an operation to
remove the prostate gland). I also provide counselling for men
prior to their surgery so they are aware of the procedure and side
effects of surgery, as well as what to expect after the
"I'm currently studying for a Masters degree, and service
improvement in The Erectile Dysfunction Clinic is the focus for my
final research dissertation. So I was very fortunate to receive a
bursary from Prostate Cancer UK to attend their prostate cancer
Masterclass on service improvement.
"There were a number of speakers and seminars that really
informed me, including Lorraine Grover's workshop on sex and
relationships. Lorraine has such a wealth of experience in
establishing her own erectile dysfunction clinics and managing
patients with prostate cancer. So to learn from her experience,
share ideas and even get her email address was great.
"It was also really helpful to speak to other staff in the
workshop who question their confidence when talking to patients
about sex and relationships and sometimes feel they lack knowledge
or aren't equipped to answer their patients' questions. It made me
realise how much I do know and how much support I had when I
started in my clinic to over come any initial embarrassment. I
think the Masterclass will have really helped those who weren't as
lucky as me to overcome this themselves and put patients and their
partners at ease so they can talk openly about difficulties in
their sexual relationship and treatment options.
"We also heard Nigel Lewis Baker's prostate cancer story, which
brought me to tears. Nigel believes he was living with prostate
cancer for five years, without symptoms, before he was diagnosed.
He's now resistant to treatments. Hearing from him brought home
exactly why I'm here and the importance of staying up to date with
the latest treatments and research opportunities, such as clinical
trials, that could help my patients."
"The Masterclass was all about sharing and developing ideas and
creating opportunities. It was a brilliant chance to absorb
information and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more
and make a bigger difference.
"At the beginning we were all told 'it's not just about
knowledge but what you do with it' and I'm going to take everything
I've learnt from Lorraine, Nigel and others I met to improve the
experience of my patients. I want to ensure patients have a real
choice of treatments suitable for their situation; that they learn
how to use equipment effectively and know where they can go for
support. Health professionals like me have a vital role in
advancing care for patients. Through change and innovation we can
keep making things better."