New asbestos-related cancer nurse specialist appointed for Leicester and Leicestershire

Louise Nelson has been appointed as Mesothelioma UK’s Clinical Nurse Specialist for the East Midlands and she will be based at the University of Leicester Hospitals (UHL) NHS Trust. Louise will provide nursing care and support for mesothelioma (asbestos-related cancer) patients being treated at UHL and link with colleagues across the East Midlands to promote equitable access to mesothelioma specific support and treatment throughout the region.

Mesothelioma is a cancer related to exposure to asbestos and predominantly affects the lining of the lungs. The UK has the highest incidence of the disease in the world with around 2,700 people diagnosed each year. The UHL NHS Trust diagnosed 109 people with mesothelioma between January 2016 and December 2018. In addition, many patients from other parts of the UK are seen at Leicester for an expert opinion or to access clinical trials and treatment.

The part-time Clinical Nurse Specialist position is funded by Mesothelioma UK, the national charity. In her new role, Louise will focus on caring for patients with mesothelioma at every part of their treatment journey, helping to make their journey as smooth as possible. She will provide specialist support and advice to patients, families, healthcare professionals, and link in with local patient support groups.

Prior to this role and for the last 12 years, Louise has worked as a Research Nurse at the Hope Against Cancer Clinical Trials Facility at Leicester Royal Infirmary, supporting mesothelioma and lung cancer patients taking part in trials.

Louise qualified as Registered Nurse in 1985 and in 1987, discovered a passion for oncology after doing a job swap with a colleague. What started as a six month placement turned into a 30-plus year career in oncology.

Louise has worked in various oncology roles at the Leicester Royal Infirmary from Staff Nurse to Sister, and also set up a vital oncology day-care service. In 2008, Louise also gained a degree in nursing.

Commenting on her new role, Louise said: “I feel extremely privileged to have been given this opportunity to work with Mesothelioma UK as a Mesothelioma Cancer Nurse Specialist and look forward to being able to work closely with patients and families living with mesothelioma to ensure they have access to the best possible care and support at all times.”

Lorraine Creech, Head of Nursing for Mesothelioma UK, added: “Louise is a very valuable addition to the Mesothelioma Nursing Service at Leicester. In her previous roles she has been a valued and respected team member. Now we are proud that she has joined us as a Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist and she will be able to concentrate all of her efforts and expertise into helping people with mesothelioma including their families and their wider healthcare teams. Louise has many transferrable skills from previous roles and I wish her every success. Louise’s appointment sees Mesothelioma UK reach 30 Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialists in the UK.”