Jamie Cargill is the Teenage Cancer Trust Nurse Consultant at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC) and was recently recognised by his nursing peers as one of the UK’s #100outstandingnurses in a poll undertaken by We Nurses – an online community run by healthcare professionals to share ideas and expertise.

Jamie's role is funded by the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Teenage and Young Adult Service (TYA) that he leads receives additional support from charities including Above & Beyond, CLIC Sargent and Macmillan to provide the very best in age-appropriate care and facilities for young people aged 16-24.

I’m incredibly proud to have been recognised by my peers alongside so many other outstanding nurses. I’m passionate about what I do and it wouldn’t have been possible without an amazing team, colleagues and friends, so I would also like to thank them for all they do.

I was appointed as the Teenage Cancer Trust Lead Nurse for the TYA South West Cancer Service in 2013. This followed a career where I have worked in Edinburgh, London and Bristol predominantly with children or young people with cancer. Since then I have led the development of a regional service for young people with cancer including the establishment of the first Teenage Cancer Trust funded unit in Bristol and a number of significant service development initiatives. In May last year I was appointed as a Teenage Cancer Trust Nurse Consultant with responsibilities across the South, South West and Wales.

Being diagnosed with cancer at any age is difficult but we know that having cancer at a young age comes with its own particular set of challenges. Young people have needs that require special knowledge and skill. This is not just their medical needs but also about the stuff that’s going on in their life at that time – like education, work, relationships, and the needs of their family. The TYA service can makes a world of difference and have a wealth of experience in responding to the unique needs of young people following the diagnosis of cancer.

Although treatment for cancer is getting better all the time it is still one of the leading causes of non-accidental death in young people.

There are many aspects of my role that are hugely rewarding but equally challenging. I still find it amazing to see the difference my team can make to the experience of having cancer when you are young. However although treatment for cancer is getting better all the time it is still one of the leading causes of non-accidental death in young people. In this situation, the team have arranged weddings and amazing wishes for young people which I’m always amazed and humbled by.

Without the support of charities like Above & Beyond, our service would not be able to offer the amazing support and care it does. The strength of partnerships across the charities with the simple focus of making a difference to young people is key. An example of such a difference is the implementation of a complementary therapy service for young people with cancer and their families. This service offers therapies such as Reflexology and Reiki at the bedside throughout BHOC and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and would not have been possible if it had not been supported initially by Above & Beyond.

The TYA service in Bristol and across the South West has made such a difference to the lives of young people and their families and is now seen as an exemplar to other TYA services across the UK. However there is still so much to do. More and more young people are surviving cancer therefore we must do all we can to ensure they are supported once they finish their treatment. My team recently received two national awards for innovation following the development and implementation of a digital platform for young people with cancer. Such initiatives will ensure young people are supported back into a life they choose to have following a cancer experience.

- By Jamie Cargill, Teenage Cancer Trust Nurse Consultant, Teenage & Young Adult Unit, BHOC

You can make a difference to young people with cancer by donating, fundraising, or leaving a gift in your will