An oncology nurse specialist from the Royal United Hospital is celebrating being voted ‘Best Nurse Teacher’ by medical students from the University of Bristol.
Emma Girling, a Macmillan Acute Oncology Cancer Nurse Specialist, received the award from graduating students at Bristol Medical School.
“It’s a real honour to receive the award,” said Emma. “I really enjoy working with the students – they’re always so enthusiastic, engaged and keen to ask questions.
“I can’t take the credit though. I’m part of a very close team which works well together and is so supportive, so it really is a team effort.”
Most recently, Emma worked with students who went on to graduate early, becoming newly-qualified doctors, ready to support the NHS during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students from the University spend time in different departments while they are at the RUH.
They typically spend a week with Oncology, and will shadow Emma to experience first-hand her work at the hospital.
“During their week in Oncology they will spend time in clinic with consultants and also on the ward meeting and spending time with patients and their families,” Emma said.
“While they are with us in Acute Oncology we aim to help them understand the patient pathway, from being admitted right through the hospital process, so they understand how all the different departments fit together.
“I try to challenge them too, to ask how they would deal with a particular scenario and how they would support the patient. It’s a partnership – both myself and the student working together.
“I also encourage them to think about themselves and their own welfare. This can be a stressful and emotional job and it’s essential they learn how important it is to look after themselves.”
Emma, who won the RUH’s Nurse of the Year award in 2018, added: “The support I’ve received from colleagues here at the RUH has been invaluable and has allowed me to work closely with these students, our doctors of the future.”
Jack McAlinden, President of Galenicals, the University of Bristol Medical Students’ Society, said: “Emma should be immensely proud of the impact she had had on our graduating students, their careers and their lives.
“The investment she has made in time, effort, energy and patience will pay dividends for many years to come.
“This beneficial return will be not only for the students she’s taught, but for every patient they treat, every family they care for, and every student that they in turn will educate.”