“There is no better feeling than knowing I can make a difference”

Today marks International Nurses Day and this year more than ever it is important to celebrate the incredible contributions that nurses make to society.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 12:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 12:40 pm
The North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Two such local nurses are Roisin Roddy and Annmarie Crossin who are Macmillan colorectal cancer nurse specialists, based in the North West Cancer Centre in Derry.

Childhood experiences inspired both women to become nurses.

Roisin spent a lot of time in hospital after as a result of an accident when she was five-years-old.

“I was inspired by the firemen, ambulance men and nurses and doctors who looked after me,” she explains. “I was five at the time and my passion for nursing continued throughout my life because of the care I received as a child.

“Throughout my career I have been able to meet two of the firemen who saved my life, Wilbie McClelland and Kieran Barr and I also met the paramedic Michael Mc Naught. In my role as a nurse, being able to spend time with these men and thank them for saving my life was a real full circle moment.”

Annmarie was inspired to take up a career in nursing after witnessing the care that her mum received after she suffered a brain haemorrhage.

“Mum spent lots of time in hospital from her initial time in ICU to her eventual discharge home to us that spanned over many months,” explains Annmarie.

“The nurses and doctors that cared for her were angels and they provided their care with such dedication, professionalism and compassion. These were the people that really inspired me to become a nurse.

“It was not only the care that my mum received in hospital but the care that she had in the community also that I was inspired by.”

“I believe that it’s not until you have loved one that need such care that you get to feel the true empathy and compassion of nurses,” Annmarie added.

Rosin’s favourite parts of the job include being able to meet with patients and offer them support throughout their journey.

“Both myself and Annmarie support patients when we meet them at the investigation stage of their journey and all of our patients are given our contact details so that they, and also their family members, can contact us to ask any questions or discuss any concerns they may have.

As well as attending appointments, Roisin and Annmarie co-ordinate their patient’s care by signposting them to services such as the Macmillan Benefits Service, Move More programme, counselling services or the Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Support Centre.

This centre based at Altnagelvin Hospital provides free information and support to anyone affected by cancer.

Both women would highly recommend nursing as a career.

“It’s been the best decision I have made. I love coming to work every single day and I have been nursing for almost 20 years,” Roisin said.

Annmarie added: “I would definitely recommend nursing as a career, it’s such a broad field and it’s about finding your niche. I have met some of the most inspirational people throughout my 15 years as a nurse and I have made some amazing relationships with patients and colleagues alike.”

Roisin and Annmarie are extremely dedicated to providing the best care and support to their patients as Macmillan nurses.

“The most rewarding part of the job is when I relieve some of the anxiety for my patients,” explains Roisin. “I really appreciate it if a patient or relative says thank you as this means I have done my job to the best of my ability.”

Annmarie said that “there is no better feeling than knowing I can make a difference in somebodies’ life when they feel so vulnerable and all other circumstances seem out of their control.

“It gives me huge job satisfaction to empower patients, to be their advocate and for them to know that we are always here for them and their families every day.

“If we can manage to put a smile on our patient’s face whilst we do this then we are WINNING!”

For more information contact Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk