Patient Inspires Gail’s Passion for Medical Research

Written by on 13/02/2018

Gail Wiley, Oncology Research Practitioner, at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), began her nurse training at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) in 1977 and trained on the chest ward. It was here that she cared for a patient who had terminal lung cancer and the experience inspired her to do more for cancer patients.

The mum-of-three’s first taste of research was when she worked in palliative care at St John’s Hospice on Slyne Road from 1995-2009. There, she became one of the first hospice-based palliative care nurses’s in 2007, looking at pain and symptom control while working alongside Professor Mike Bennett.

She took up her current post at the Trust in 2009 which has seen her involved in oncology and haematology trials at the Trust’s three main sites. At the RLI alone she has supported hundreds of patients, been involved with 25 clinical trials looking at new cancer treatments and most recently a palliative care study looking at advanced care planning.

Gail’s day-to-day role includes:

  • Assisting clinical teams to ensure study protocols and procedures are adhered to in accordance with local practice and Good Clinical Practice Guidelines
  • Organising patient assessments and visits
  • Supporting patients throughout the delivery of their care on clinical trials, seeking appropriate assistance to ensure that their concerns are addressed.

Gail, who lives in Lancaster with her husband, said: “That patient really did inspire me to take the journey I have with my career and I will always remember him fondly. Things really were so much different back then in terms of the management of a patient’s pain. There are so many more layers of care today for patients with cancer.

“I am an advocate for patients and the research we are doing at the Trust is contributing to evidence-based practice. I feel like I am really contributing to change my current role and can really see the potential for patients through many of the trials that we do.”

Gail’s 40-year career in healthcare has included 10 years as a midwife at the RLI from 1985-1995 and two years as a sister on the ophthalmic and stroke wards between 1982-1984.

Gail, who has a post grad diploma in Ethics of Cancer and Palliative Care awarded in 2006, added: “When I first started my training there were 18 of us and the school of nursing was where the education centre stands today. I lived in the nurse’s quarters at Beaumont Hospital with the senior nurses and I learned so much from them. We would always sit and talk about work and soft skills in the nurse’s lounge – there was a real community family feel to working life.

“I’ve loved every moment of my time in the NHS and healthcare. There have been many changes over the years but it’s a career I am very proud of. I’m passionate about the NHS providing care, and I hope it lasts for future generations for years to come.”

On 5 July 2018, the Trust will join other health organisations around the country to mark 70 years of the NHS as part of NHS England’s NHS 70 celebrations. As part of our celebrations, we are sharing stories from our long-serving members of staff.

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