If you need information in another format from our website please contact us by email: janet.hall@nipec.hscni.net or enquiries@nipec.hscni.net or phone us on 0300 300 0066.

Macmillan Lung Cancer Nurse

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Adult Nursing


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

As Macmillan Lung Cancer Nurse I utilise skills of clinical expertise, leadership, education and management to ensure a seamless Lung Cancer Nursing service is provided for patients, relatives and staff.  The job requires me to hollistically assess and provide advice, support and information to patients, relatives and staff.  I am involved with patients from diagnosis, throughout curative, palliative and terminal phase.


Specific qualifications and experience required

I qualified as a registered general nurse in December 1993.  Since then I completed 6 diploma modules at Ulster University and then went to QUB to complete a Bsc Honours Degree in Palliative Care (Specialist Cancer Care).  Following this I completed a stand alone Lung Cancer Module at QUB and then completed the NMP course in June 2014.  I worked for 1 year in the palliative care team in RVH before moving to the Mater Hospital in 2006 - I worked for 7 years as a generic palliative care nurse before specialising in Lung Cancer in 2012 when I took up post in the NHSCT.


Career Milestones

Qualified Dec 1993

Completed Diploma modules June 2003

Completed Specialist Practice Degree in Palliative Care 2005

Permanent Macmillan Nursing Post 2006

Completed Lung Cancer Stand Alone module 2009

Lung Cancer Nurse post 2012

Completed Non Medical Prescribing level 7 2014 


What attracted you to this job?

I truly love my job, I really enjoy making a difference to people who are diagnosed with Lung Cancer.  For this patient group less than 50% of them are alive one year later however  I hope in years to come this will change with new targeted therapies (oral chemo).  When I took up post as Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist I soon realised that a lot of the media attention and support provided is quite negative for people with this diagnosis.  Many of these patients have the added stigma of people thinking they are all smokers which is not the case.  In the NHSCT we have a very active support group and we involve our patients living with Lung Cancer in the design of services.  We have had 2 very successful health and well being events and more recently piloted a pulmonary prehabilitation self management group for this patient group.  I am passionate about improving things for this patient patient group and trying to keep appropriate hope alive for these patients. It is a very difficult journey when you are faced with dying within months - I believe we make a real difference as Lung Cancer Nurse Specialises we guide patients and those important to them through a very difficult time in life and ensuring they get best quality care.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

This work is very rewarding because very often patients give you very positive feedback.

It is a real privilege to provide psychological support to people who are dying.

Staff in wards, community, consultants such as Oncologists from other Trusts really appreciate the work that we do on daily basis.

Designing services with patients - this can be really insightful 


Challenging aspects of the job/role

Its hard at times when you know patients for a period of time and then they die.  They shared of their most intimate details with you because the trust you, their fears their anxieties and it can be hard when they pass away.

Time is always a factor as it can be difficult to juggle all aspercts of the role service development, management and education alongside the clinical aspects.


Important success factors

Support from University Tutors

Support from my line managers.

Support from colleagues already doing the job - from 2004 to 2005 I woked in a temporary post in the Royal Victoria Hospital, here I developed key foundation skills and knowledge which allowed me to become a very confident Macmillan CNS

In 2017 I won the RCN Nurse of the Year Award this was a wonderful experience and something that my patients were very pleased about.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

Just go for it!  I remember having a discussion with a Hospice Community Nurse in 1995 and when she said about all the studying she had done I thought I could never do all that.  However I have been very luck throughout my career and I believe that I have been managed by truly inspirational leaders who have supported and encouraged me to achieve my goals and I am so please that I did reach my goal. All the hard work and studying have been really worthwhile and I just love being a nurse.  I often think I don't really work as I feel really fulfilled as a Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist. 


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

Health assessment and non medical prescribing has been really useful in this role.

Holistically assessing patients and providing psychological support and advice at an advanced level.

Providing education - ensure there is a workforce to provide care for this patient group.


Share this page