In My Own Words: Chemotherapy Nurse specialising in IV therapy & IV devices

This is the latest post in the ‘In My Own Words’ series CCHFund is running about the staff, trustee’s and all involved at the CCHUnit. This week, Sarah Drewett, a Chemotherapy Nurse specialising in IV therapy & IV devices, speaks about her role at CCHUnit and what inspired her to start her fantastic work.



I have been in the post of chemotherapy nurse specialising in intravenous (IV) therapy and IV devices at the Cancer Care and Haematology Unit, Stoke Mandeville Hospital for over 10 years now. My role is to assess, insert, give advice and teaching to both patients and staff regarding intravenous access devices.

My IV specialist role includes inserting peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC’s) in the chemotherapy day unit using an ultrasound machine, removing the tunnelled central venous central catheters (Hickmans®) and giving the advice and support to patients and staff regarding all aspects of IV therapy and devices.

Prior to my appointment, PICC’s were inserted in the x-ray department of the main hospital by a consultant radiologist and team and treatments were often delayed until a device could be fitted.

Now that PICC’s are inserted on the unit the patients have no delay to their treatment, they have the benefit of a nurse inserting their device who understands their therapy and device needs as well as being able to be seen promptly by a specialist if a problem arises which prevents unnecessary line removal. Often these patients have met me previously as part of their treatment so I am a familiar, reassuring face when they need a device inserted.

Removing tunnelled central catheters is a surgical procedure which was often delayed prior to my appointment but now can be removed as part of my role on the unit.

When I am not inserting or removing central lines or giving advice I am caring for the patients receiving chemotherapy. This part of my role involves patient assessment, insertion of peripheral cannulae, administration of chemotherapy and advising patients on their care needs, side effects and home medicines.

This requires extra training in venepuncture, cannulation, IV drug administration and chemotherapy administration which all the chemotherapy nurses bring to their role, as well as myself.

I really enjoy my role and our patients in the chemotherapy day unit are often surprised by the happy, café-like atmosphere whilst still being treated safely and professionally.

I am very grateful to the Trustees of the CCHFund for their continued support of my role. I know this improves patient safety, timeliness of treatment and reduces patient anxiety at a difficult time of their lives.


CCHFund: nurses and infrastructure

As well as paying for equipment and infrastructure, CCHFund believes that funding extra nursing posts is a really valuable way of enhancing the quality of care we can give in the unit.

Sarah Drewett is very much close to our hearts as the IV line nurse who for several years has been employed to put in and take out the specialised intravenous catheters/drips, needed by some patients to get their chemotherapy given safely and comfortably.  Sarah was originally trained to do this, as a nurse specialist, in a major teaching hospital, but when she moved to Aylesbury and started her family, we were quick to ‘head hunt’ her and welcome her to the CCHUnit!

As well as putting the lines in herself, she has trained others to do the same, and supports staff and patients in managing them, so there is always someone available, should a concern arise, and there are no delays in getting lines in to start treatment.

Knowing there is always an experienced and approachable source of expertise close at hand is very comforting for patients.

Thanks to all those who have supported us in providing this top class care and please keep up the good work. If you would like to get involved with any of the work we do at CCHFund then contact us at or go to our Facebook or Instagram pages to find out more.




Written by on 13.12.16

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