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Meet our Chief Nursing Officer

You may already know Alison McKinney, who set up our Support Line and staffed it for 18 months. This year, the Line was passed onto Beth, and Alison stepped into a new role for the charity as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).

But what does that involve, and how is her work helping to change care for WMers? We'll let Alison tell you all about it...

Interviewed by Beth Webster, our new Support Line Nurse

Can you tell us a bit about your role and what your day to day looks like?

“My role as Chief Nursing Officer incorporates a few different aims - the two main ones being: - Engaging healthcare professionals to ensure the needs of WM patients are better recognised, as well raising the awareness of WMUK so patients receive WM specific support and information as early as possible in their diagnosis. - Providing educational resources to healthcare professionals, to increase the knowledge and awareness of WM, to help them feel better informed and equipped to meet the needs of their patients. My day to day really varies, which I enjoy - I can either be travelling to Haematology centres to meet clinicians, having meetings with other members of the WM community, or engaging with patients directly!”

Can you tell us something about your role that would surprise us?

“As far as we are aware, my role (and yours Beth) are the only ones of this nature that are specific to WM in the world - which is really exciting!This is absolutely a testament to the WMUK community who, without them, we wouldn’t be able to do the jobs which we do.”

What drew you to work for WMUK?

“When considering leaving the NHS, it was a really big decision - and I knew that if I did leave, it would have to be for a role which I felt truly passionate about and that would challenge me, but also one that I could use my skills to hopefully make a difference. WMUK stood out to me, as it felt like it ticked all the boxes. When learning more about WM, it became clear to me very quickly that there are so many intricacies to WM and the impact they have on patients, but that there also seemed to be a real lack of information around not only the disease but how to best care for patients. Although WMUK is a small charity, the team, patients, and the wider community are all so welcoming and supportive - but most importantly passionate about improving WM care and supporting patients to live well with their disease. I feel very privileged to be a small part of that!”

What’s your favourite bit of your role?

“I feel very fortunate, as there truly are so many parts of my role that I love. I would say that one of my favourite parts though, is being able to speak with patients to better understand their needs and then making sure this is heard within healthcare settings and hopefully improving the care which their patients then receive.”

What are you excited about for the future?

“WMUK have so many plans and visions in the pipeline, all of which we hope will mean that WM patients have access to better care and information that is specific to their needs. I’m really excited to see how the work which I am currently doing with Healthcare Professionals influences the care in which patients receive, and how we can start using this to start working on creating a more standardised approach to WM care throughout the UK.”

What do you do to unwind outside work?

“When I first started working for WMUK, I actually lived in Belgium due to my husband’s job - we moved back to the UK last summer, so I’m really enjoying being closer to family and friends and spending my time catching up with them!”

Thank you to Alison for the insight into her exciting new role!


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