About us

Inspirational cancer nurse shortlisted for national award

05 March 2020

Health Care

Ann French, from Colchester, has played a vital role in developing the urology services at Southend University Hospital.

The lead urology oncology clinical nurse specialist's (CNS) hard work has now been recognised, with her being shortlisted for the British Journal of Nursing Urology Nurse of the Year.

One of her achievements to help improve patient care was setting up the oncology CNS service from scratch in 2001. It started with three urologists but Ann has been pivotal in expanding the service, as demand has grown, to nine urologists. She has also trained four CNS colleagues to meet the service need and has been instrumental in setting up nurse led clinics.

Ann was also heavily involved in the bid for Southend Hospital to become a centre for urology cancer surgery, she has also set up urology support groups and health & wellbeing events. Her contribution to patient care at Southend is immeasurable

Ann, who has been a nurse for almost 40 years, she said: "I am so proud that I have been shortlisted as a finalist for helping to deliver a service that patients need at a very vulnerable time in their lives. I always feel it is a privilege to support and care for these patients when their whole life is being turned upside down. 

"It's been very humbling to see in writing the impact people feel I have made to the team and patients, and of course the urology services both here at Southend and across Essex."

One of those patients is Roger J Bassett, from Southend, who is Chair of Cadgers, the hospital's urology cancer support group.

Roger said: "I was diagnosed with prostate cancer some 15 years ago and I was fortunate to have Ann in her role of CNS to care for me which she did so well. From then until now Ann has provided similar care to hundreds of patients undergoing cancer treatment.

"In June 2003 Ann was instrumental in forming Cadgers where she takes an active role as our President. For patients recently diagnosed with cancer, Ann runs a bi monthly clinic to explain all aspects of their treatment and possible side effects. I can not think of anyone more dedicated to her job."

Ann is an advocate for her staff and patients and demonstrates endless energy for promoting and improving the Urology Department. She also finds the time to attend school events and encourage a new generation into nursing.

Mr Sampi Mehta, Clinical Director for surgery at Southend University Hospital and Chairman of the east of England urology group, summed up the impact Ann continues to have on patients and staff. He said: "Throughout my 20 year career; I can honestly say that I have never met someone who is more deserved than Ann French for the nurse of the year. Ann is a credit to us, the nursing profession and more importantly to herself. She projects energy at every opportunity."

Ann said: "I am lucky that I am part of such a great team that always go that extra mile and also manage to keep their sense of humour. I certainly could not do the job I do or remain so inspired without such great individuals around me who are keen to share the journey."

Here's hoping that part of Ann's journey is on stage to collect a much deserved award. The awards dinner takes place on Friday 20 March in London.


Notes to editor

The Cadgers group meets on the last Thursday of each month, with around 50 members attending, including new patients who have been recently diagnosed with cancer. They can have the benefit of talking to members who have been through a cancer journey.