A brown envelope’ usually means a bill so Claire Taylor was shocked to see Prince Charles had written saying she had been awarded an MBE for services to colorectal cancer nursing.
“I couldn't believe it when I first opened the letter but I’m off to Buckingham Palace later this year so it’s really happening."
The Macmillan nurse consultant with St Mark’s Hospital’s complex cancer team in London also works as a lecturer and researcher collaborating with like-minded colleagues around the UK.
She has a particular interest in patients’ physical and mental recovery once they’ve left hospital and this was the subject of her PhD called The Process of Restoring Embodied Control: Recovery after Colorectal Cancer.
Claire said: “Nowadays, there is greater awareness of the need to support patients when they’ve finished treatment and the importance of providing them with resources to cope, such as building a strong support network.
“Patients often feel disempowered by what has happened to them during the acute phase of their cancer care and can be unprepared for the time it takes to recover not just physically but also emotionally.
“My role is to ensure patients receive appropriate support and services, gain access to the right information and have a holistic package of care after treatment.”
So, why work in one of the most demanding of nursing’s 25 specialisms?
“I’ve always enjoyed having the time to communicate effectively with people and enhance their experience of healthcare. It’s important in this complex speciality not only to provide an expert level of clinical skill, but to know your contribution to that patient's care and work well with all the multi-professional team.”
Claire’s work includes setting up the UK’s first network for colorectal cancer nurses 23 years ago which she currently chairs, allowing colleagues to meet and exchange best practice.
The MBE honours contributions and achievements of people from all over the country from pop stars to charity workers.