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Celebrating International Nurses Day with a Manchester Matron who refused to give up on her dream

Meet Joanne Timperley, a matron at The Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, who defies all odds to provide exceptional care to young cancer patients.

Joanne Timperley, a dedicated matron at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, has defied personal challenges to provide exceptional care for children and young people battling cancer and blood disorders.

On the occasion of International Nurses Day today (12 May), Joanne’s unwavering commitment and resilience serve as a testament to the profound impact nurses have on patients and their families.

Despite being diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of 26, Joanne’s determination to deliver the best possible care remains unshaken.

“It is a very challenging job at times, but I feel very privileged to be part of a young patient’s journey,” she says.

Joanne’s focus is on her patients’ well-being, stating: “It’s not about me. I’m just pleased when a child finishes treatment and rings the end of treatment bell.

“If I can make a little bit of difference to their lives, that’s what I want. It’s all about what they’re going through.”

Joanne’s aspiration to become a children’s nurse began in her early years when she would dress up as a nurse and accompany her mother, a radiographer, to work at the hospital.

Despite not having any A Levels after leaving school, Joanne pursued her dream by completing her degree through night school.

She grasped various training and educational opportunities, including the Professional Nurse Advocate course at the master’s level.

Over the years, she has progressed in her career in pediatric oncology and hematology, ultimately being promoted to matron in 2018.

Throughout her tenure, Joanne has witnessed significant advancements in treatments and improved survival rates.

Research by Cancer Research UK reveals that childhood cancer survival rates have more than doubled since the 1970s.

As a frontline staff member, Joanne’s perseverance has played a crucial role in the fight against childhood cancers.

Beyond her exceptional caregiving, Joanne has become an inspiration to fellow colleagues.

Wearing hearing aids and relying on lip-reading, she demonstrates that hearing loss should never be seen as a setback.

“Some people worry that hearing loss might hold them back, but I hope they are encouraged when they see me in a matron’s uniform,” Joanne remarks.

She recalls how her success inspired a staff nurse with hearing difficulties to pursue her own career goals.

Today, the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital unit treats children and young people from all over the world.

Some patients and families regularly visit for treatment and follow-up care.

Joanne acknowledges that her job extends beyond mere professionalism, especially on the difficult days when a child passes away.

“It makes me incredibly sad sometimes. But I think that the day you stop caring is the day you stop working in the profession. It’s dealing with that sadness and giving yourself permission to be sad about it.”

Joanne is thrilled to be part of International Nurses Day celebrations this year, joining staff and children on her wards.

The focus is on positivity and creating a joyful environment through various artistic and creative activities.

“For me, it’s all about the children, young people, and their families.

“The staff are just so positive. We make it a happy environment to be in,” Joanne emphasizes.

She believes in prioritizing patients and making time for them, even on the busiest days.

As International Nurses Day highlights the extraordinary contributions of nurses worldwide, Joanne proudly stands as a symbol of care and dedication.

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