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Martin Galligan, 30, is now a lecturer practitioner at the School, with a specialist background in pain management. He teaches on the Advanced Practice modules, including physical assessment and non-medical prescribing. Martin tells us how his training advanced his career, and why he wanted to work with the next generation of cancer care specialists.
“I started studying at the School in 2013 on a stand-alone chemotherapy practice module, while I was working in pre-assessment at The Royal Marsden. Then I decided to do the advanced practice module, which gave me the confidence to pursue my training even further, so that was rolled in to my MSc in Advance Practice. One of the most relevant modules for me was Cancer as a Long Term Condition. A lot of my patients at the time had chronic pain after going through treatment, so I was immediately able to put my training into practice."
One of the most relevant modules for me was Cancer as a Long Term Condition. A lot of my patients at the time had chronic pain after going through treatment, so I was immediately able to put my training into practice.
Then I picked up the advanced assessment module, helping to diagnose patients and make management plans for their care.
“It definitely helped me become a more autonomous practitioner; I didn’t have to rely on doctors to prescribe treatments, and I could feedback to other team members with more knowledge and understanding of the patient. All that put me in a good position to step up a level into my next role.
“When I started my dissertation, I was working as a lead nurse in acute pain at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust. I wanted to look at nursing knowledge and attitudes towards pain, as there’s quite a discrepancy between what we know and what we do in practice; there’s a lot of misconceptions about what a patient should look like when they’re in pain, so nurses may not pick up on, or prescribe, what a patient really needs.
“I carried out an audit at the beginning of my dissertation and then we did a lot of education with the nursing team, looking at processes and procedures. When I did another audit at the end, there was a big difference. It’s amazing to think that my dissertation helped change things – that might never have happened if I hadn’t also been studying for my Masters.
“When the opportunity came up to work with the School this year, it felt like the right move for me. It’s such a unique place to study – not only is it based within The Royal Marsden, all the staff have either come through the School or are working at the hospital, so students get a really high-quality education. The School has helped me so much, and encouraged me to develop both personally and professionally, that I wanted to help others in the same way. I love the idea that I can help improve their experience and then the patient experience, too.”