Just do it! NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapy (Cancer Pathway) With the aim of gaining practical experience as a complementary therapist in a cancer-care setting, I found my way to the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Cancer Centre in Harrogate where the first NHS Natural Therapy School is based, for the 12 week program leading to the NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapy (Cancer Pathway). This program offered an unique opportunity to learn and work within a professional, supportive and caring team, to NHS standards, while helping people during their cancer treatments, their carers, and patients on wards in the main hospital, through the power of touch – in my case, aromatherapy massage. The required medical and professional standards were obviously very high, and I was a bit daunted at first. There was a lot to learn about professional standards in the NHS, about the many forms of cancer and how these impact on people and how to tailor treatments to individual circumstances and the constraints of being on a hospital ward. However, as experiences go, this was probably one of the most rewarding professional and human experiences I have had, if not the most. Underpinning this was the expert and ongoing coaching and guidance from Gwyn Featonby, who leads the program, and support from Beverly Harrison and the wider team, which was invaluable. “Light touch” but the right touch. Also, the chance to work with and learn from fellow therapists was an added bonus. Through evidence-based practice, it was satisfying to see positive results for patients. Being accepted by medical professionals as part of the wider team supporting patients was amazing. So, if I have any advice for anyone considering embarking on this journey, it would be to “just do it”!
The patient Complementary Therapy Service at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre.
The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre (SROMC) is part of Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT NHS Trust). It serves the population of Harrogate and the Rural Dales providing cancer treatments and supportive care services. The types of cancer treated within the SROMC are recognised by the National Cancer Intelligence Network as the common cancers, breast, colorectal, lung and prostate (Public Health England 2015). The unit also treats patients with a number of less rare haematological malignancies requiring day case or outpatient chemotherapy. The unit currently sees an average of five hundred new patients requiring cancer treatment each year. The centre also provides Health and Wellbeing Services offering a range of multi-disciplinary advisory, practical and self-management support for both hospital and community patients, carers and healthcare professionals who are affected by a cancer diagnosis.