A nurse from Wrexham has won a charity award for her “outstanding” commitment to prostate cancer patients.
Voted for by colleagues, patients and their families, Sandie Jones has won Prostate Cancer UK’s first ever People’s Choice Award for her “extraordinary” career caring for men living with the disease.
“Knowing that I’ve made a difference in some small way has made everything truly worthwhile”
As part of the new award, the clinical nurse specialist from Wrexham Maelor Hospital will be presented with a £1,500 bursary for training or service improvement in her local area.
Her award win was announced on Tuesday at the annual conference of the British Association of Urological Nurses in Bournemouth.
She was commended for her “outstanding dedication to supporting men with prostate cancer over the last 20 years”, said Prostate Cancer UK.
Prior to the appointment of Ms Jones, there were no nursing services for men with prostate cancer at her hospital, leaving many to come to term with their diagnosis on their own, noted the charity.
She, therefore, set up a nurse-led follow-up clinic which provided men with support, information and the ongoing care that they needed.
“Nurses like Sandie can make all the difference – ensuring patients feel supported”
Ms Jones, 63, went on to become the only nurse in Wales to perform prostate biopsies – meaning she cared for her patients throughout their entire prostate cancer journey
Frank Maddocks, who was nursed by Ms Jones, nominated her for the award. He said: “When you hear that you’ve got cancer, your whole world is turned upside down in an instant.
“Thankfully, Sandie guided me through every step of the way,” he said. “Without her, I don’t know what I would have done.”
He added: “She’s truly professional, incredibly kind and goes above and beyond for every single one of her patients. There’s no one more deserving of this award.”
Speaking on receiving the award, Ms Jones said: “It means that I’ve been doing right by the men that I’m here to support, which to me is more important than anything,” she noted.
“I love my job and knowing that I’ve made a difference in some small way has made everything truly worthwhile,” she said.
Ms Jones is now looking forward to retiring but is training a colleague to continue the services that she set up at the hospital, which is run by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
“When you hear that you’ve got cancer, your whole world is turned upside down in an instant”
Leceia Gordon-Mackenzie, change delivery senior officer for Prostate Cancer UK, said the charity was “delighted to present this award and bursary to Sandie”.
“When any man receives the devastating news that he has prostate cancer, he is catapulted into a world of worry and uncertainty,” she said.
“But nurses like Sandie can make all the difference – ensuring patients feel supported and cared for throughout their prostate cancer journey,” said Ms Gordon-Mackenzie.
She added: “We can’t thank Sandie enough for the remarkable lengths that she has gone to over the last 20 years to care for many thousands of prostate cancer patients in Wrexham and beyond.”
The charity also highlighted that prostate cancer was “expected to become the most common cancer overall by 2030”, as the number of cases increase year after year.
But it warned that it was worried that the “under-resourced” prostate cancer nursing workforce was not prepared for the “significant increase” in cases.
“With a significant number of nurses coming up to retirement or intending to leave nursing within the next 10 years, and no clear plans to train a new workforce, patients face a future without the experience and expertise needed for their care,” said Ms Gordon-Mackenzie.
“We urgently need more nurses, like Sandie, with the specialised knowledge required to care for men with prostate cancer,” she added.