Partnership with Children’s Cancer Unit Charity will develop childhood cancer nursing at Queen’s
The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast has launched a new partnership with The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity (CCUC), with the announcement of £129,000 in funding.
The funding will help inform the development of childhood cancer nursing and enhance student experience for Queen’s nursing students through a range of projects and initiatives, including a student conference, engagement workshops, the awarding of a student prize and the establishment of a new travel scholarship.
The first stage of the partnership will support the annual Children’s Cancer Student Conference hosted by Queen’s. The Student Conference will be held on Friday 19 May and has been designed to inspire and inform current Queen’s students to consider a career in childhood cancer nursing in Northern Ireland.
The event will feature speakers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, research nurses and special guest speakers.
The funding will also support two engagement workshops with the aim of advancing care for children, young people and their families in the field of haematology and oncology in Northern Ireland. These workshops will enable students to work with key stakeholders in the field of children’s cancer nursing to identify a range of potential projects and opportunities focused on practice development; research projects that can directly impact the level of care received by children, young people and their families; education needs and opportunities; and benchmarking performance.
Professor Donna Fitzsimons, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University, commented: “We are delighted to partner with The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity to help further develop our commitment to improving children's cancer nursing in Northern Ireland and beyond.
“This partnership will provide unique and inspiring opportunities for our students to expand their knowledge and interest in working in this important field of nursing as a future career. I look forward to seeing the impact and successes these initiatives will bring for our students.”
In addition, the CCUC has established the Dr Sid Dempsey Student Prize, which will be awarded to three Queen’s nursing students who demonstrate excellence in academic achievement and contribution in practice; prizes include 1st place £1000, 2nd place £500, and 3rd place £250.
The Dr Sid Dempsey Student Prize has been created in memory and recognition of Dr Stanley (Sid) Dempsey who was a Consultant Paediatric Haematologist at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. In 1984, alongside patient families and nursing staff, Dr Dempsey founded The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity to raise the necessary funds to build a dedicated Children’s Cancer and Haematology Unit at the hospital which enabled children diagnosed with cancer and complex blood disorders to benefit from dedicated and lifesaving medical care.
The partnership will also enable The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity Travel Scholarship beginning in Autumn 2023. This scholarship will offer three Queen’s nursing students the opportunity to visit the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare and Emory University, both in Atlanta, USA.
Innovative technology firm, Aflac Northern Ireland is a corporate partner of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, who have agreed to support the partnership by offering access to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta, US. This paediatric cancer centre is funded by their US parent company, and as part of the new relationship with Queen’s, three nursing students will be given the opportunity to visit the specialist centre of excellence and Emory University to enhance their experience.
Jane Hoare, CEO of The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, said: “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Queen’s University to provide this exciting experience for student nurses. Not only will the conference and workshops inform students of the variety of opportunities within childhood cancer care, but we hope they will be inspired to use their skills to make a difference to the lives of children and families in Northern Ireland.
“It is of vital importance that we have the best and brightest nurses caring for children with cancer and blood disorders at the Children’s Cancer Unit in Belfast, so this is a unique opportunity for us to reach out to those who are considering a career in this area. We look forward to meeting everyone throughout the events, to explain more about the work we do at the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity and share stories of what life is like for many local families affected by childhood cancer.”