Inspirational cancer nurse shortlisted for national award
05 March 2020
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
"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
"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
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
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.