A worker at the RUH who set up a bra fitting service for breast cancer patients following surgery, has been nominated for a prestigious national award.
Karen Read, who joined the hospital in 2020, is a finalist in the Clinical Support Worker of the Year Award category at the Our Health Heroes Awards, delivered by Skills for Health.
In addition to helping patients who have had a mastectomy or have breast asymmetry get fitted for bras, Karen established a dedicated prosthesis fitting service and has even trained in nipple and areolar tattooing for patients who have had reconstructive surgery.
Karen’s work is ‘invaluable’ for breast cancer patients says Kate Hope, Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist at Bath RUH NHS Foundation Trust.
“[These services] are a huge part of being able to face the world having had breast surgery,”
“It makes an enormous positive difference psychologically to how patients perceive their body image.”
As well as helping patients to combat negative body image and boost their self-esteem, Karen runs a monthly support group for patients diagnosed with or being treated for breast cancer.
Quarterly health and wellbeing seminars – fully organised by Karen – offer women further opportunity to get together and participate in discussions about their recovery from breast cancer and inspire a positive outlook amongst survivors by focusing on topics not routinely covered clinicians, such as diet, exercise and psychological wellbeing.
Karen’s experience working as a Health Care Assistant in Breast Care before joining RUH enabled the Our Health Heroes Awards finalist to ‘hit the ground running’ say colleagues, bringing a wealth of experience in dressings, wound care, drains and post operative care, as well as providing clear and helpful advice to assist breast cancer patients to negotiate their treatment journey.
“Karen greets each working day with enthusiasm for her role and demonstrates great resilience during these challenging times for the NHS,” adds Kate Hope, Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist at Bath RUH NHS Foundation Trust.
“She does it all with a great sense of humour and care for the people around her, and is a real pleasure to work with. She goes above and beyond in her role for so many patients and colleagues and we would like her to be acknowledged as the wonderful nurse and person that she is.”
“How does she find time to do all this as well as her day-to-day clinic work you ask? We don’t know either!”
Show your support for RUH’s Karen Read by casting your vote here:
The Skills for Health Our Health Heroes is sponsored by Unison, Health Education England, NHS
Employers and more, and the winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony held in
London on 7th June.