Our outreach nurses

Our oncology team includes nurses called "POONS" – Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nurse Specialists.

These outreach nurses provide a link between hospital and home for children with cancer or leukaemia. This means that around the time a child or young person is diagnosed, they’re likely meet one of the team who will talk to them and their family about what they need while they’re poorly.

It might be that there are things they don't understand about their illness or treatment, or their parents might need advice on how to look after them at home.

Whatever questions or problems a child or young person may have, their "key worker" outreach nurse will be able to help. That may involve referring them to other professionals, such as play specialists, dietitians, psychologists and faith leaders.

Cancer is a disease that can affect the whole family and every aspect of family life, which is why it's important to have someone to support families throughout the journey.

The contact children and young people have with their outreach nurse may change over time. If everything is straightforward and going well, it might not be necessary to contact them much. If things get difficult because treatment is quite complicated or they become very sick, they may see or speak to them quite a lot.

POONS can be especially helpful when children and young people return home after being in hospital for quite a long time. That can be quite a worry – not just for them but for their families too. Parents and carers need to know about the possible side effects of medication or how to recognise if children need to go back to hospital.

Lots of children and their families have used the POONS service and have found it really helpful. One mum said she particularly liked being able to pick up the phone and know she would speak to someone who could give her support straightaway.