I came to The Royal Marsden School in 2012 from a clinical post in a tertiary cancer centre in South East England where I worked concurrently as a Nurse Consultant for Survivorship and as the Cancer Network Macmillan Lead for Survivorship. I was appointed Head of School in December 2013, after a period in post as Interim Head.

I really enjoy leading The School and working with a wonderful team of colleagues. I have a long and varied career in cancer and palliative care nursing. I have held clinical, research and educational roles in various NHS organisations (including primary care) and Higher Education Institutions.  

My oncology experience includes being a ward sister of a breast and bowel surgery unit and a mixed-sex clinical oncology ward, a Research (Clinical Trials) Nurse and a palliative care/secondary breast cancer clinical nurse specialist. In my 30+ year career, I have also worked as a service improvement lead, and a researcher and lecturer in higher education institutions.

I studied for my MSc in Cancer Care at the Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care Studies (a precursor to today’s Royal Marsden School) and was awarded the Joan Frances Stowe prize for ‘best student/researcher’ in 2000. It is now my privilege to be involved in identifying potential winners of this prize. My PhD from City University, awarded in 2007, used realistic evaluation to explore the impact of an holistic tool on nurses’ assessments of patients receiving outpatient palliative chemotherapy.   

Teaching and specialist interests

I teach on, and contribute to most modules in The School and enjoy leading and participating in bespoke work, for example the Macmillan practice nurse programmes and Prostate Cancer UK study days. I have particular input to the research, palliative, end of life care and ‘core’ MSc modules. I am a tutor and academic supervisor to students studying at BSc and MSc levels. 

As a member of the Nursing Board of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, I sit on several Trust committees and work clinically on the wards for half a day each week.

My specialist areas of interest are the long term consequences of cancer treatments; quality of life; end of life care; assessment of patients’ needs. My current workload prevents me from pursuing my research interests, but I hope to re-kindle my academic activity in the near future.

I am responsible for the overall quality of education in the School and for the School’s strategic direction. I aim to ensure that students in the School have an excellent educational experience, feel inspired by our high-quality teaching, have access to a wide range of relevant resources, and are supported to succeed in their studies. 

Publications

  • NET 2014 Conference, September 2014 ‘Using Debate to Encourage Students’ Critical Thinking’
  • Boot, M; Wilson, C (2014) Clinical nurse specialists' perspectives on advance care planning conversations: a qualitative study International Journal of Palliative Nursing 20(1): 9-14
  • NET 2013: Conference Symposium: Internationalisation of cancer and palliative care education: Learning from, with and about other cultures 
  • Wilson CJ (2007) Cancer nurses' assessment practice in the outpatient chemotherapy unit: a realist evaluation of the introduction of an assessment tool (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

Contact details

catherine.wilson@rmh.nhs.uk
Direct Line: 020 7808 2296
PA: Olivia Bolger, 020 7808 2923