For me it will mean being able to see many patients who are being followed up after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer face to face for the first time in over a year. For some they will wish for their follow up appointments to continue over the phone, for others they have asked many times when we can meet again, whilst being tremendously understanding when we explained that this, for now, was not possible. This sudden and total shift to a remote care for patients has for some been positive for others, not so. As a nurse I have struggled with how to nurse when I’m not with a patient, but I’ve realised that whether I’m on a phone, on the attend anywhere (previously alien) platform or in a clinic room the nurse patient relationship and the caring that is central to that remains and that is what normality means.
This realisation has been heightened by recent study that has prompted me to review literature about what patients want from follow up. I did a similar literature review when I first began nurse led colorectal cancer follow up clinics over 15 years ago. Of course there have been changes, in follow up, in service provision and thankfully in efficacy of treatment. The one thing that never seems to have changed is the clear benefit seen in the nurse patient relationship in general, and of the caring that it central to this in particular. As I said at the start, it’s an old word but a fantastic one!