Specialist nurse from St Catherine’s Hospice scoops national award
A specialist nurse from St Catherine’s Hospice has been named Lymphoedema Care Nurse of the Year – beating off competition from around the country.
Debbie Murphy, Lymphoedema Services Manager at the Woodside Clinic at the Lostock Hall hospice, was presented with the British Journal of Nursing award at their annual ceremony.
She was nominated for the prize by colleagues in the Lymphoedema Department – where staff treat adults and children living with the debilitating condition, which causes swelling in the body as the lymphatic system struggles to drain waste fluid.
Their nomination focused on the work Debbie has done to bring in state-of-the-art equipment to offer the most modern forms of treatment, and her drive to boost patients’ independence by teaching them effective methods to help self-manage their condition.
The service has been so successful the St Catherine’s team – who work with patients whose lymphoedema is both cancer and non-cancer related – now also treats people at satellite clinics in South, West and East Lancashire, as well as at their base in Central Lancashire.
Debbie and her team also run the only lymphoedema service for children in the North West.
Debbie, who received her award from veteran journalist and TV presenter Esther Ranzen in a ceremony at The Globe Theatre in London, said she was ‘shocked and thrilled’ to have been picked for the prize – but insisted it was recognition for the hard work of the whole team.
The nurse of 32-years standing said: “I was delighted to even be short-listed for the award, so to be picked as the winner was a fantastic accolade.
“This isn’t just a prize for me however, it’s an award recognising the efforts of the whole team – it would not have worked without them on board and working to implement the changes I have been driving.
“It’s also an award for St Catherine’s Hospice because without their support we wouldn’t be able to take the new ideas forward. If you don’t start thinking differently, and have the backing to try out new things, you will always get the same results.”
Developments Debbie has overseen include the introduction a dance-based therapeutic exercise programme targeted at supporting the lymphatic system called Lebed; investing in equipment including a laser to soften tissue and aid drainage and a device which mimics manual massage; and teaching patients the skills to carry out massage and bandaging techniques to help them manage their own condition more effectively.
The 48-year-old mum from Feniscowles, Blackburn, has also worked closely with GPs to teach them more about lymphoedema, whilst working to establish stronger working relationships with them for the benefit of their patients.
Debbie said she was thrilled to see the work of the team making such a difference to the lives of the patients they treat.
“Lymphoedema can be a massively debilitating condition – restricting mobility, knocking confidence and self-esteem and leading to social isolation as things as simple as putting on a pair of shoes or trousers become a major task,” she said.
“By offering specialised care using the most pioneering equipment in conjunction with tips and advice for effective self-management, we are empowering the patient and helping them achieve the best possible quality of life.”
Jimmy Brash, Director of Care at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “Debbie has undertaken some fantastic and imaginative work.
“The feedback from patients about the service is so positive and this encourages us to continue to explore new treatments and services. I endorse Debbie’s comments about the commitment shown by all team members. They have embraced these changes and really ‘made them happen’; without doubt, this success must be attributed to all clinical and non-clinical staff and volunteers in the team.”
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