Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – Meet Ilaria Piretta sharing her passion for our paediatric cancer patients
It’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and to bring about awareness, St George’s are profiling just a few of the many incredible members of staff that are involved in paediatric cancer journeys.
How long have you worked at St George’s Hospital?
I have been working at St. George’s Hospital since November 2014 – starting out as a Staff Nurse on the Pinckney ward (a Disease and Paediatric Oncology Ward). I have always been interested in paediatric oncology and the desire to specialise in this area only increased once I completed my nursing training in Italy.
In October 2018, I had the opportunity to join the Paediatric Oncology Team as a Trainee ANP, and I have completed my PgDip in Advance Clinical Practice this January, making me the qualified ANP I am today.
Tell me about your team and what you do to help children with cancer?
Our Paediatric Oncology team is made up of one Speciality Dr, an attending Consultant and three ANPs.
As Paediatric Oncology ANPs, we are highly skilled in the treatment and management of complex oncology patients – whether they have been newly diagnosed with a malignancy or they are experiencing any complications during their oncological treatment.
We are able to assess patients, make clinical decisions, formulate diagnoses and prescribe the most appropriate treatment. We also co-ordinate patients’ admission and discharge, making sure all our patients receive the care they need, when they need it.
We work closely with different multi-disciplinary teams, such as the Surgical Team, Disease Team, Clinical Psychologists and YLvC (Young Lives vs Cancer) to make sure that our patients not only receive the best care possible, but also the best support available, based on their needs.
Why is children’s cancer awareness month important to you and your team?
All our little patients are real warriors – they go through such long, intense, terrifying treatment and don’t just face it with bravery, but also absolutely smash it! The way these kids and their families face such a turbulent and difficult journey is nothing short of inspirational and they deserve recognition for this.
This Children’s Cancer Awareness month, it’s important to make people aware of the fact that cancer doesn’t just affect adults, but also children. However, with the support of their community behind them, as well as the resources needed, children will be empowered and enabled to better fight their battle against cancer.
What do you enjoy most about working within our children’s cancer team?
I absolutely love the relationships that we build with our patients, which goes beyond the pure medical care we provide. Some of our patients and their families will always have a special place in my heart for the way they have been such an inspiration to me – both in my personal and working life.
Lastly, there is no better feeling than hearing one of our little patients ring the ‘end of treatment’ bell.