Posted Wednesday 3 July 2013
A programme of degrees delivered in partnership by two of the country's leading healthcare educators and a world renowned centre for cancer care education has yielded its first crop of graduates.
The 48 students all took courses at The Royal Marsden School thanks to a new academic alliance with Kingston University and St George's, University of London. The three institutions joined forces in 2010 to work together to develop ground-breaking teaching and research programmes and to increase opportunities for continuing professional development. Kingston and St George's also validate a suite of degrees delivered by the School.
At a ceremony at St Luke's Church in Chelsea, 26 students were awarded a BSc (Hons) in Cancer Care - the first time Royal Marsden School students had received degrees from Kingston and St George's. Alongside them, 15 students gained Graduate Diplomas in Cancer Care, five were awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Practice (Cancer) and two were awarded an MSc in Advanced Practice (Cancer).
Lead breast care nurse at Colchester Hospital Morven Angus was among the successful students who donned gowns and mortarboards for the occasion. She signed up for the Master's programme to help develop her knowledge and improve services for breast cancer patients in Colchester. "As a lead breast clinical nurse specialist I felt it was important to develop my theoretical knowledge and critical thinking to provide evidence-based, high quality care for patients," she said. "This course allowed me to focus on aspects of how I could develop the service for patients and support the team of breast specialists, while also considering wider political influences affecting cancer nursing practice."
Morven said she felt the course had given her the tools to critically appraise medical literature and relate it more clearly to her work. This had increased her confidence to develop new ideas and drive new initiatives forward in collaboration with her colleagues. One such initiative was to develop an open-access service to patients at low risk of recurrence of breast cancer. This would mean replacing the current follow-up programme with a more robust package of aftercare, including workshops to enhance recovery and well-being, she added.
Dean of Kingston and St George's Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education Professor Fiona Ross told the new graduates The Royal Marsden was a great example of a learning organisation, open to challenges and encouraging education and critical reflection as a means to improving the well-being of patients. "Successful organisations like The Royal Marsden know that, by investing in learning, the workforce will have the specialist skills that will enable the Trust to stay at the forefront of discovery, treatment and care," she said. "Kingston and St George's are proud to be able to support the process of this learning through our academic partnership."