Sue has always had a passion for head and neck cancer patients and had long seen a gap in our service when it came to discharge. There is no tracheostomy or laryngectomy support for patients in the community, meaning family had to take on the responsibility or patients would face a nursing home. This resulted in longer inpatient stays and readmissions to our wards. Sue has continuously worked on the need for a head and neck airway outreach nurse and has this year managed to have this approved and is currently piloting on secondment.
Her dedication is admirable and her love for this patient group evident. She is so happy in her current job and tells everyone daily how much she loves it. Her smile can be seen a mile away!!
Whilst her long term service is admirable, the reason for this DAISY nomination comes on the back of a specific time Sue had managed a particularly difficult situation in the community setting. Sue’s role has meant that patients who have had major head and neck cancer surgery have been able to attend family events and even go home for their last weeks of life. Sue recently supported a patient to attend her sister’s funeral whilst an inpatient.
On arrival at the patient’s home to get ready, the patient, unfortunately, had a huge bleed, something that is a risk in this patient group. When this happens on the ward they are traumatic events to be part of, never mind in a patient home. Sue single-handedly managed the situation superbly. She applied pressure to the lady’s neck with one hand and maintained constant suction of her airway with the other, whilst also informing paramedics with the aid of the patient's husband of the urgency of the emergency.
When the paramedics arrived Sue continued to care for the airway and bleed in the ambulance. She asked the paramedic to phone ahead to ED to have the correct tracheostomy tube available to protect the patient's airway from the bleeding.
On arrival, she inserted this tube whilst the ED team stabilised the patient. Sue then contacted the patient’s surgical team at QMC who went straight to KMH to meet her. It never entered Sue’s mind to leave the patient once the Registrar and Consultant had arrived. She stayed with her and the patient was blue lighted back to Queens.
Sue only left her side once the patient went for a procedure to stop the bleed upon return to QMC. When reflecting, Sue thinks she did nothing special or out of the ordinary that day. We as a nursing team appreciate the enormity of this event and think very differently. It is without a doubt that the patient’s outcome would have been very different had Sue not been there. Her actions were amazing and her time given was selfless, staying with the patient until late into the evening with her only thoughts being to look after her and ensure the wellbeing of her husband too.
We are all so incredibly proud of Sue. Sue is an amazing leader, a fantastic teacher, a beyond dedicated head and neck nurse and we think a hero!
I was on the ward where I had a laryngectomy. Sue was one of the people looking after me. My sister died suddenly. I wanted to go to the funeral but I had not had my op long. Sue offered to come with me and my husband. We traveled home with Sue. We had been in the house less than 10 minutes and I started (emerging) bleeding nonstop. Sue was doing suctioning for all she was worth; my husband was told to phone an ambulance by Sue. When they arrived Sue told them what they needed at my local hospital, the blood was still coming and she was still doing suctioning in the Ambulance. She came with me to the theatre, keeping my husband involved all the time. I was transferred back to QMC and Sue was by our side all the time so I would love to nominate Sue. She has the time for anybody, nothing is too much trouble and she has a heart of gold. If it wasn’t for Sue it would have been my funeral as well. We can’t thank her enough. She would go that extra mile, I should know after five operations in five weeks.