‘I wanted to play my part’: Cancer nurse to help coronavirus patients at Nightingale Hospital

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 April 2020

Alison Boyd will be volunteering at the Nightingale Hospital. Picture: Macmillan

Alison Boyd will be volunteering at the Nightingale Hospital. Picture: Macmillan


A nurse will be swapping cancer patients for those with coronavirus after taking up a role at the Nightingale Hospital.

The Nightingale Hospital based at the ExCeL. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireThe Nightingale Hospital based at the ExCeL. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Alison Boyd, who manages Macmillan’s information and support centre, has volunteered to work in the family liaison and support team, helping those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

She is expected to spend four to six weeks at the temporary hospital, which has been set up at the ExCeL to cater for up to 4,000 patients at a time.

“I want to apply the same skills I use daily to support people with cancer like treating people with compassion and warmth to now help patients affected by Covid-19,” Alison said.

“Families and patients will still need the same kind of understanding and care, perhaps even more so since some patients are not allowed to see their family or loved ones. So clear and kind communication will be hugely important.

“As I can’t currently see patients in the cancer information centre, I wanted to play my part as a nursing professional.

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“I don’t know what to expect to be honest, I just want to offer the same skills and compassion.”

Alison, who qualified as a nurse from Kings College University London in 1996, has worked with patients with respiratory illnesses earlier in her career before specialising in oncology.

She has been working at the cancer charity’s information centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital since 2018.

A team of volunteers will be continuing to offer support to cancer patients while Alison takes on her temporary role at the Nightingale Hospital.

She is due to have her first shift this week and has praised the colleagues she will be working alongside.

“I do know that it will be a unique environment, and that every single person working at the Nightingale will be a skilled professional in their own right,” she said.

“I know it will be an exceptional team. Everyone wants to provide outstanding care in what will be a challenging time and colleagues from the NHS, military, St John Ambulance and the London Ambulance Service are pulling together, want to do their job to the best of their ability, and have the upmost respect for patients, each other and the work we are about to undertake.”

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