A Donegal nurse who co-led a research team that devised a trial to take more patients out of hospital for routine cancer medications has been awarded the Irish Cancer Society Senior Researcher of the Year title.

Advanced Nurse Practitioner Dr Janice Richmond of Letterkenny University Hospital was instrumental in the trial, which set about taking patients receiving oral anti-cancer medicines off the day ward for later cycles of treatment.

Patients were instead supported to self-administer their medicines at home, with follow-on support available through telephone assessments and physical assessments at a community-based primary care setting, meaning there was less need for them to attend hospital for exams and assessments.

The trial tested the effectiveness of limiting patients’ interactions with a busy hospital environment, and its development happened to coincide with the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 which meant Richmond’s team had the capability to provide care to patients while minimising their risk of infection.

The project was made possible through fundraising from the Donegal Relay for Life committee.

Dr Janice Redmond: Irish Cancer society Research Awards 2023

Reacting to her award, Janice Richmond said;

“This was something that we had talked about for years with the nurses in the Day Ward. This grant gave us the time and funding, alongside the expertise of the researchers based in the Clinical Trails Network Ireland, to design and perform this study. Patients want their care to be as efficient as possible with as little time as possible spent in the hospital setting. This work has enabled that to happen and for that patients find this highly acceptable.”

Irish Cancer Society Acting Head of Research Dr Claire Kilty congratulated the award winners: “This trial is a great example of how research is integral to proving the effectiveness of better care solutions for patients on the ground. Janice’s work is proof of the adage that the way we’ve always done things might not necessarily be the best way, and it’s fantastic that we have people who look to make positive change for patients by challenging conventions.

“It’s a real testament to the work of our dedicated cancer researchers around Ireland to see such a flourishing environment for forward-looking research projects as evidenced by this year’s winners, and it’s great to be able to recognise the incredible effort they put into making people’s lives better at such a difficult time.”

The 2023 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards was the first event to be held in person since before the pandemic in 2020.

The event comes ahead of the return of the Society’s Daffodil Day fundraiser on Friday March 24, which provides crucial support for ground-breaking cancer research. For information on how to give or get involved, visit www.Cancer.ie.