Farzana Baksh, 31, is an advanced nurse practitioner at The Royal Marsden within an ambulatory day care unit. She graduated with a Masters in Healthcare Practice (Cancer) from the School in 2018, but her relationship with both the School and the hospital began long before that – and still continues.
“I started working for The Royal Marsden almost 10 years ago as a band 5 staff nurse on a temporary contract, and I’m still here! Within 18 months of joining, I decided to do Foundations in Cancer Practice
as a stand-alone module and my bosses were really supportive – I think that gave me the encouragement I needed to continue my studies. Between 2010 and 2014 I did another couple of modules, but then I felt like I really wanted to challenge myself.
“By 2015 I’d been promoted to a senior band 6 nurse, and I’d moved around different wards within The Royal Marsden, so I had a lot of surgical medical experience. I was also facing a choice between going down the clinical or managerial route in my career. I knew that the modules within my Masters – like Physical Assessment and Clinical Reasoning
where I could learn history taking – were more in line with what I wanted to achieve in my nursing career, so I joined the Masters pathway.
“I was still working full-time for the Marsden, which was perfect because the library was right on my doorstep and it was much easier to pin down the lecturers to talk to in the canteen! My husband, Filipe, was studying for his Advanced Practice Masters
pathway at the same time, so it was great for both of us to be able to discuss ideas and issues over the dinner table.
I was still working full-time for the Marsden, which was perfect because the library was right on my doorstep and it was much easier to pin down the lecturers to talk to in the canteen!
“I graduated in 2018, but I wanted to do more to achieve my personal goals. Although I was able to assess patients and make important decisions about their care, I still had to call in a doctor to prescribe their drugs. My manager was very supportive of me taking additional modules, so I completed the Independent Prescribing module
last year. Now I can actually complete the care that I’m recommending to patients.
"There are still a few modules I’d like to take. At the moment, I assess patients to see if they’re fit to have chemotherapy and sometimes I have to have tough conversations
with them. I’d love to do the Advanced Communication Skills Training
to see if I can improve the way I communicate with them. I’m also keen on the Advanced Clinical Assessment
module to develop my skills in analysing X-rays and interpretation of findings.
“I believe learning is a lifelong commitment because healthcare is always advancing, especially at The Royal Marsden – everyday there’s something new to learn, so I hope I never stop learning.”