Jenny was nominated for a Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ Merit Award in recognition of her contribution to her profession and significant achievements in recent months during in her role as advanced occupational therapist at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle.
The Merit Awards recognise a significant achievement or contribution to the profession by the RCOT members at any stage in their career.
Jenny has been a member of the occupational therapy team at the Newcastle Hospitals for the past seven years and has worked on numerous projects within cancer services including prehabilitation, phase one clinical trials, frailty and lung cancer.
She recognises the value of timely intervention and collating rigorous data to inform research and service development and has secured the publication of articles in several high impact factor journals whilst consistently championing the role of occupational therapists in cancer services.
Jenny has also held the role of the lead allied health professional within NHS Elect’s specialised clinical frailty group since its conception at the Newcastle Hospitals.
All data from the pilot phase of the Lung Cancer Outpatient Therapy Service is now featured in the Journal of Lung Cancer; a real triumph for our profession.
Jenny also has a track record of publication in the Autonomic Neuroscience, Video Journal of Oncology, Pilot and Feasibility Studies, Springer and Journal of Geriatric Oncology.
A passionate champion for empowerment
She understands that research can seem inaccessible to many occupational therapists, however prides herself on motivating peers to explore projects in areas they are passionate about, regardless of size or scale.
Throughout her time in The Sir Bobby Robson Clinical Trials Unit and on the wards of the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Jenny developed a keen interest in lung cancer. This passion formed the basis of a business case submitted to create the Lung Cancer Outpatient Therapy Service. It is now the case that patients with lung cancer are able to access rapid, cancer-specific therapy assessment and intervention.
As a result, 82% of patients are dying in their preferred place and length of stay in hospital for this group has reduced by almost a week. This has been positive for the Trust but most importantly for patients during what is quite often their final weeks of life.
Dedicated to improving care for patients living with cancer
Jenny’s greatest achievement has been securing permanent funding from commissioners for an advanced occupational therapist, advanced physiotherapist and associate practitioner for this patient group. She aims to secure funding to expand this model of care across other tumour groups.
Jenny is a dedicated, hard-working leader who is passionate about improving the care of patients living with cancer through high quality research and service development.
She has widened the breadth of occupational therapy to include evidence-based proactive and reactive interventions and her work in oncology is followed with interest by allied health professionals across the UK.
On bestowing Jenny with her award Odeth Richardson, Head of Occupational Therapy and Chair of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists said: “It gave me great pleasure to present Jenny with this award as Chair of RCOT, not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. I’ve seen first hand the passion and dedication that Jenny commits to her patients.
“She always goes the extra mile and has made a significant difference to this patient group ensuring that wherever possible patients are able to die in their preferred place of death.
“This patient group is frail and so ensuring that they continue to live while dying is an important part of her role. She thoroughly deserves this award.”