Cat Wilde, lead Macmillan paediatric oncology clinical nurse specialist
Cat Wilde is lead Macmillan paediatric oncology clinical nurse specialist on Tiger Ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital
“Tiger Ward is a paediatric oncology shared care unit (POSCU) that cares for children with cancer in south London and surrounding areas. The children are referred here by specialist centres such as the Royal Marsden or Great Ormond Street so that they can receive care closer to home after their initial diagnosis.
“The ward provides day treatment, which can include chemotherapy, blood transfusions, blood tests or general reviews. We also have four inpatient beds for when children become unwell and need to be admitted to the ward.
"We often have around 50 children on active treatment and I’m in contact with their families on a daily basis to offer support, advice and reassurance. Our families know that we are at the end of the phone any time they need us. I’m also in regular contact with community teams and specialist centres.
"I’ve wanted to work in paediatric oncology for as long as I can remember. When I was studying to become a paediatric nurse, I did the majority of my placement on a ward that included a POSCU. I really enjoyed this experience and so, once I qualified, I continued to work there for several years. I then moved to the Teenage Cancer Trust in London for a few years to further my professional development and took specialist training and qualifications in paediatric oncology.
“My priority is to make sure that the children and families who come to the ward, however long they are here, have the easiest time possible. It’s about keeping stress levels down to a minimum and building trust with patients and families so that they know they can rely on you.
"Although some days are extremely hard, it is so rewarding to feel a part of someone’s journey. It means that you form a very special bond with the patients and their families.”