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May 25, 2005 -- Today the Belfast Telegraph ran Nigel Gould's profile of uro-oncology nurse Jenny Kelly, who heads up Belfast City Hospital's Men Against Cancer Clinic, where she saves lives by "helping men overcome their embarrassment about going for a check-up." The piece is a generally good portrait of a nursing leader who is improving access to care by changing the way it is a delivered--a classic nursing intervention.

The piece, "Jenny's cure for the men reluctant to find help," notes that Ulster men are "notoriously bad" at seeking health care. It reports that Kelly's new Men Against Cancer Clinic is starting to change that through a philosophy of "calling a spade a spade." This involves being "candid without being crude," presenting patients with straightforward information about what is going on and what they can do about it. Kelly notes that she is a veteran nurse, not "some dolly bird," and that she can speak with men openly about the relevant health issues, which are cancers affecting the kidneys, bladder, prostate and testicles. Her clinic, funded by Action Cancer, has helped hundreds of men since opening one year ago. Indeed, the clinic is "so popular that it has been a victim of its own success," and it is booked up far in advance. Kelly notes that the men are curious about their health and want advice about how their bodies work, but they are reluctant to see their general practitioners--and few ever have. Kelly stresses that she spends time providing support and counseling to patients and families, and that she is building on "an already dedicated team of doctors and nurses." She mentions cancers the clinic caught in recent months that might otherwise have "slipped through the net." Kelly thanks her husband and two grown children for their vital support, noting that "[m]y husband thinks I am never at home." The piece notes that Kelly would like to expand her clinic to serve all of Northern Ireland.

The piece provides a good example of how nursing can save lives through its skilled, holistic patient focus, and how a nursing health initiative can effect systemic change. It presents Nurse Kelly as a dynamic local health leader who is saving lives, and as someone with a broader vision. Some might object that the piece generally gives nurses credit for stereotypical people skills, rather than "clinical" expertise, but it seems to us that in this case some of the most important clinical skills are interpersonal skills. Nurse Kelly is able to do what she does in part because she has 30 years of clinical experience. The piece might have stressed her technical expertise more, and it might have included comment from her patients or colleagues, but on the whole it is a good look at a promising nursing health initiative.

We commend Mr. Gould and the Belfast Telegraph for their profile.

See the article "Jenny's cure for the men reluctant to find help" by Nigel Gould in the Belfast Telegraph.

 

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