April Member Spotlight – Meet our Chair


Name:  Maria Guerin

Country: Liverpool UK

Institution: Aintree University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool UK

What is your role within ITONF?  Chairperson

When did you first join ITONF? What motivated you to join ITONF?  I was one of three UK colleagues nominated by the NLCFN (National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses) to represent the UK Lung Cancer nurses working with global colleagues in the development of an international thoracic oncology nurses’ group. This was a timely intervention as I had completed my 10 years term of office as committee member and 3 years as chair of the UK nurse’s forum some 12 months earlier and felt somewhat redundant!! Having been involved from the outset in the formation of the now very successful   UK NLCFN back in 1998 it felt appropriate to utilise my experiences in transferring this concept and along with the experiences, knowledge and enthusiasm of my international colleagues ITONF was born, we held our inaugural workshop at WCLC (world conference lung cancer) in Amsterdam in 2011


What is your current nursing role and some of your responsibilities?  I am currently working as a Lung cancer and mesothelioma Nurse specialist in the city and surrounding areas of Liverpool. Liverpool has one of the highest mortality rates in the country for lung cancer.

I work in a team with two other clinical nurse specialists. We meet patient’s pre-diagnosis, with our first contact often being via telephone prior to their first appointment – here we carry out an assessment and provide details of any relevant investigations and the onward plan. An important part of our role in pre-diagnosis in prehabilitaion – providing health education and support for example diet, exercise and smoking cessation. This also provides an opportunity for the patient and carer to build up a rapport with a named Health care provider. (Key Worker) during what can be a daunting process

As a key worker we remain the contact for the patient and family during diagnosis ,treatment ,living with the illness and through to end of life care.

We have duty to ensure we are adequality updated / educated on the current treatments and local service provision– ensuring an equitable service is provided for all in the community, consequently as a nursing team we are heavily involved in service development and education.

What interests you in thoracic oncology nursing? There is always something more to be done !!

Having been working in the role for over 21 years I have seen many changes, but the recent emergence in oncology treatments and the active role nurses have working collaboratively with our health care professionals in facilitating care and ensuing patients reach their optimal fitness in order to have such interventions is the most exciting to date.

What do you think are some of the global challenges facing oncology nurses today? Time – and endeavouring to adapt areas of good working practice from across the globe in very different health care settings can be difficult and frustrating

What advice would you give to nurses who are new to thoracic oncology nursing?– take your time setting up your service ,  Access all the information you can, be mindful of your (and your institutions) limitations . … enjoy your work – we are in a privileged position with the group we serve and  JOIN ITONF !!