The UKONS Board is made up of executive officers, members, co-opted members and prospective members.
The Board meet at face-to-face meetings four times a year and have regular telephone meetings throughout the year.
Each year the Board has at least one major work plan to deliver, as well as the UKONS annual conference to plan and organise with our Secretariat, Media1 Productions Ltd.
Dr Verna Lavender is a cancer nurse academic and scientist. She works at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust as Head of Guy’s Cancer Academy and has an honorary senior clinical lectureship at King’s College London. Since qualifying as a nurse in 1987, Verna has worked in a variety of health service settings, including acute and primary care, cancer care education and training, and service improvement and research. Her main academic interest is person-centred care of patients receiving anti-cancer therapy. She is passionate about improving the outcomes of people with cancer and educating staff who provide cancer care. Verna is a member of several cancer nursing societies and has worked with cancer charities throughout her career.
Mark has been in post as Nurse Consultant and Lead Cancer Nurse at the Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust since 2007.
He has a professional link with Oxford Brookes University and teaches there on a regular basis. He spends half his time working clinically on the Acute Oncology Team and in 2016 received a ‘Pride of Reading’ Award for his work with cancer patients.
Mark has presented widely on a range of subjects and has a particular interest in nurse-led services, innovative approaches to cancer care delivery and the political backdrop to cancer services. In 2018 he was voted onto the board of the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) where he leads for nurse education.
He has an interest in music and runs a monthly music night. He fences with epee and is a keen cyclist. In 2015 he rode from Reading to Barcelona for charity on a tandem with Dr Joss Adams, one of his medical consultant colleagues.
Helen has been a key member of the United Kingdom Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) Board for around ten years; involvement includes previous leader of the Chemotherapy / Systemic Anti-Cancer Treatment (SACT) Members Interest Group (MIG) and now Past President. Day to day she is employed as Consultant Cancer Nurse by North Cumbria Integrated Care Foundation NHS Trust, which is part of the Northern Cancer Alliance. Helen is also Consultant Editor for the British Journal of the Nursing Oncology supplement.
Helen has worked in adult cancer care for most of her career and continues to provide a role, which enables her to remain clinical day to day, yet also be active in both research and service developments, along with educating others. She has developed a wealth of skills, knowledge and expertise in patient care, leadership and service development, all of which influence her everyday practice provision and ultimately the patient care she provides.
Her specialist area of clinical expertise is the management of patients with breast cancer, neo-adjuvant through to end of life. This involves assessing patients; managing symptoms and treatment toxicities, prescribing, requesting radiological investigations, developing and leading services i.e. homecare service, requesting Oncotype DX testing and ensuring patients are offered the opportunities to take part in research. She has presented at many conferences, from local to international; published extensively on an array of topics and constantly explores ways to enhance patient care.
Karen Campbell holds a post within the Professional Development and Knowledge team within Macmillan Cancer Support. Since 2018, Karen is responsible for the delivery management of education to Macmillan professional, people affected by cancer and the wider workforce across the UK. Karen held an Associate Professor post from 2015-2018 at Edinburgh Napier University where she led the Cancer Collaborate Theme. Karen has led programmes of research including the National Evaluation for the Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) (2014-2018) which included a Realist Evaluation of Holistic needs assessment, delivered across health care settings. In addition, Karen held the Master programme leadership in Advanced Nursing Practice, where she led on the development of cancer education in malignant haematology and caring for people affected by cancer. Karen is currently undertaking her Clinical Doctorate at Stirling University exploring the experience of care in haematology cancer patients in the last year of their life.
Libby Potter is currently on a year’s secondment as Head of Portfolio for Health Education England (HEE). The portfolio that Libby leads on, includes Cancer and diagnostics, Long terms conditions and Prevention, and Maternity and children & young people. Prior to joining HEE in February 2021, Libby worked as a Professional Development and Knowledge manager at Macmillan Cancer support. She has led on many areas of development for the Macmillan and Cancer workforce including the development of a national work based learning module at degree and masters level.
Libby has worked with many stakeholders and partners across the UK, and has a keen interest in supporting innovation and change within health care systems. Prior to her national role in Macmillan, Libby has managed education and development within the geographical teams at Macmillan, leading teams across the South West and Midlands, working to develop learning opportunities with many audiences, including volunteers and with people living with cancer, driving forward new initiatives to support person centred care.
Prior to Macmillan Libby worked as a clinical nurse specialist working in Head and Neck cancer, and created the head and Neck cancer nursing service in Bristol. In addition Libby created the Masterclasses in Head and Neck Cancer Management at The University of the West of England (UWE). A passion of Libby’s is the emotional health and wellbeing of the workforce and has driven the development of the Emotional health and wellbeing hub for the workforce during the Covid pandemic, also creating the vicarious traumatisation workshops with partners to support the cancer workforce to prioritise their own wellbeing and resilience.
My name is Debbie Wightman, I have 27 years nursing experience. 20 years have been working as an intensive care nurse caring for neonates, children and adults.
In 2012, I had the privilege to transfer to a management role and work with staff and patients within Oncology and Haematology. In this position, I was able to develop the service and lead the implementation of the Regional Information System for Oncology and Haematology, an electronic patient record and electronic prescribing system ensuring safe standardisation of care and treatment which is protocol driven and based upon regionally agreed clinical management guidelines.
In 2017, I became the Divisional Nurse for Cancer and Specialist Medicine and Lead Cancer Nurse for the Belfast H&SC Trust. This is very much a leadership position within the organisation, one which I am honoured to hold. This strategic role enables me to influence the nursing workforce within Northern Ireland, working in partnership with other nurse leaders throughout the region to develop a clear and valued career pathway for cancer nurses, investing in education which is evidence based, person centred, co- produced and designed for and with our patients.
I am passionate about raising the profile of cancer nursing within Northern Ireland, enabling us to work collaboratively to ensure we share best practice and knowledge and in doing so develop a skilled confident, competent workforce of nurses with the ability and passion to deliver high quality care, which is cutting edge, innovative, focusing on the needs of our patients whilst creating a close network of support, education and learning.
Board Member - Partnership Lead
Teenage Cancer Trust Lead Nurse – Teenagers & Young Adults
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Nellie is an experienced advanced nurse practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Nellie has been working in the field of oncology for sixteen years in a variety of roles. Areas’ of interest include advanced practice, nurse led initiatives and skin cancer.
Board Member - Communications Lead
NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow
Twitter: @MerryTea Linked In: Mary Tanay
Mary’s nursing experience spans almost 20 years spent in various surgical and medical oncology settings. For several years, she was a unit lead research nurse at the Royal Marsden Hospital where she supported patients who participated in studies that explored supportive therapies, IMRT, chemotherapy and targeted cancer agents. She completed a Royal Marsden Diploma in Cancer Nursing. After gaining an MSc in Nursing Research at King’s College London, she joined King’s Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care in 2011 as Senior Teaching Fellow. Mary holds a PGCert in Healthcare Education and is also a Fellow of the UK HEA. Her research interests include patient experience, survivorship and supportive care in cancer with focus on chemotherapy related neuropathy. In 2019, Mary was awarded a Doctoral Research Fellowship by the National Institute of Health Research. Mary was involved in the development of materials such as the UKONS SACT Passport, CR-UK Your Cancer Treatment Record Book, and ESMO-EONS Head and Neck Patient Information Sheet. Mary is member of Communications Group of the European ONS.
Board Member - SACT MIG Lead
Chemotherapy Nurse Consultant
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
I have been in oncology for approximately 13 years and a UK ONS member for 10 years. During this time I have worked in a variety of areas, including research, ambulatory care, Acute Oncology and Cancer of Unknown Primary; I have also undertaken different roles including clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager and cancer matron, most recently becoming the Chemotherapy Nurse Consultant for the Royal Marsden Hospital.
I am very interested in the development of extended practice roles and innovative, new models of care, that allow patients to have their treatments closer to home, outside the hospital setting. I am also a keen advocate of nurse education and supporting nurses’ role development. Currently I’m developing multi-professional chemotherapy on-treat clinics with a Consultant pharmacist colleague, supporting and extending new community based SACT services for the Trust, and reviewing our whole ambulatory care patient pathway.
Board Member - Radiotherapy MIG Lead
Una is an Assistant Director of Nursing for Cancer and Diagnostic services based at the North West Cancer Centre, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. She has been a member of UKONS since 2011 and has worked as a cancer nurse since 1998. Una has worked in various roles and has specialised in SACT nursing, Breast care nursing and more recently led the development of the second cancer centre in Northern Ireland. As Assistant Director of Nursing Una’s aim is to develop a culture of person-centred care in an environment of continuous quality improvement, by empowering staff through evidence based practice, co-production and partnership working. Una has worked across health boundaries both within Northern Ireland and across countries. She was part of the team who developed radiotherapy referral pathways between countries in the first cross-border cancer treatment facility in Ireland. Her work was recognised with an award from the Chief Nursing Officers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for cross country working in 2016. Since 2009 Una has delivered advanced communication programmes through her role as a programme facilitator, she is passionate about the importance of healthcare professionals being skilled to have complex discussions with patients and their families in relation to their treatment and care. As a UKONS board member and senior nurse in Northern Ireland she is driven to bring the UKONS vision to nurses and have the opportunity to share cancer strategy, best practice and inspire cancer nurses.
Board Member - UKONS Champions Lead
I started at the Royal Marsden School in February 2019 as a lecturer practitioner. Before moving here I had spent the last three years as Head of SACT services in a large NHS Trust which had a tertiary cancer centre and two DGH sites.
Development and support of staff is always something I have been passionate about. I have also trained as a Schwartz facilitator. As part of UKONS board I am the deputy of the SACT MIG as this remains a key area of interest for me.
My oncology experience has been wide and varied in my 30+ years career and includes being a Sister of a general cancer ward and a chemotherapy day unit, Lead Nurse at a tertiary cancer centre, Cancer Network Nurse Director and 10 years as Head of Nursing Cancer and palliative care. I have also worked for a brief time as a clinical nurse specialist in the distance past.
Board Member - Haem-onc MIG Lead
Board Member - Research Lead
Board Member - LWBC Lead
Co-opted Board Member, SACT
Chemotherapy Nurse Consultant, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London
Dr Catherine Oakley has worked in cancer care for over 20 years as a clinical nurse specialist, lead cancer nurse and in general management. She has developed strategies for cancer patient involvement and health promotion.
Her main area of interest is Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT), in particular, home support, symptom reporting and oral SACT (the topic of her research for her Masters degree). After developing a generic patient oral SACT diary, Catherine and her colleague Jo Johnson were awarded the 2008 European Oncology Nursing Society prize for excellence in patient education materials and the 2009 Nursing Standard award for best practice in medication administration. Catherine has been an investigator and provided advice on national projects, including a review of cancer inpatient admissions, the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death within 30 days of systemic anticancer therapy, the Rapid Response Report on risks of incorrect dosing of oral anti-cancer medicines (2008) and the NICE Neutropenic Sepsis Guidelines (2012). She was more recently a member of the Cancer Taskforce that developed the National Cancer Strategy. Catherine’s NIHR funded PhD conducted through Kings College London University, explored why patients’ delay presenting with neutropenic sepsis.
Co-opted Board Member, Acute Oncology
Naomi currently works as an Acute Oncology Nurse Consultant at Northern Devon Healthcare Trust in Barnstaple. Naomi has worked within a variety of ward and outpatient cancer care settings. She moved to North Devon in 2015 to help establish the Acute Oncology Service. This nurse led service now runs over 7 days and has been nationally recognised for its innovative nurse led approach. Naomi is a NMP, Chair of the local peninsula CUP SSG, Vice- Chair of the the Acute Oncology MIG and is a Specialist Advisor for the CQC. Raising the profile of Acute Oncology is a real passion for Naomi, she is also particularly focused in the development of advanced practice within nursing roles recognising how they enhance the quality of the service provided.
Co-opted Board Member, Young Cancer Nurse Representative
Bethany works as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Medical Oncology at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. She graduated from University of Surrey in 2013 with a BSc in Adult Nursing and is currently working towards her Masters in Advanced Clinical Practice at University of Southampton.
She has been a UK representative for Young Cancer Nurses since 2017 and works with UK Oncology Nursing Society and European Oncology Nursing Society to provide educational opportunities for YCNs and to develop a network for YCN in the UK and across Europe.
Co-opted Board Member, Young Cancer Nurse Representative
Jane Ewang is a Radiotherapy Nurse Specialist at The Harley Street Clinic, London. She has worked in cancer care for almost 10 years and is passionate about radiotherapy and supporting patients throughout their cancer journey. She has recently become an independent nurse prescriber and is working towards her MSc in Cancer Care. Jane has been representing UKONS (United Kingdom Oncology Nursing Society) as a Young Cancer Nurse (YCN) representative since 2019.
Co-opted Board Member, Young Cancer Nurse Representative
Constance is a Macmillan Acute Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Wexham Park Hospital, part of Frimley Health Foundation Trust. She undertook her undergraduate degree at King’s College London in 2013, and is currently working towards her Advanced Practice Masters in Cancer Care at the Royal Marsden School, which she hopes to complete in December 2020. Her dissertation focused on weekend referrals to a nurse-led acute oncology service. She is a non-medical prescriber, and supports not only acutely unwell patients but also those with cancers of unknown primary. In the past, she worked as a Breast Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist. She currently represents Young Cancer Nurses as a co-opted Board member of UKONS and is also an EONS Young Cancer Nurse Representative. She hopes that exposure to the work that other young cancer nurses are undertaking and facilitating a network will lead to shared ideas to develop better care for oncology patients and inspire the next generation.