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This December, we are spreading a little Christmas thanks for the invaluable role that Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) have in a leukaemia patient's journey. We want CNSs to know that they matter to patients, to charities and to other healthcare professionals.

Who are Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)?

A CNS is a nurse either educated to a postgraduate degree level and/or has significant experience in managing and caring for a particular disease type or patient group.

The general responsibilities of a CNS are: providing emotional and physical support for patients, co-ordinating patient care, delivering patient care, educating other staff members, and acting as a patient advocate.

Why do they matter?

From our 2016 patient experience survey, we identified that out of 2,019 leukaemia patients only 38% said they had access to a CNS. Additionally, we found that there are huge variations across the UK ranging from 30% access to 50% access.

At Leukaemia Care we want to see CNS access reaching the targets of 100% and have made three recommendations for achieving this:

  1. Ensuring that patients are introduced to their CNS from diagnosis.
  2. Increasing the specialisation of Clinical Nurse Specialists.
  3. A general improvement in nursing staff levels across the NHS.

Because of this, this December we are:

1. Ensuring that CNSs know they matter

We have sent #myCNSmatters advent calendars and Christmas cards to every haematology ward in the UK as a token of our appreciation and a way of us saying thank you for all the hard work that they do.

2. Demonstrating that #myCNSmatters

Using our ‘My CNS Matters’ report, the experience of patients and those of Clinical Nurse Specialists we will be making sure that the right people hear that access to a CNS for leukaemia patients requires improvement.

3. Thirdly and most importantly, we need you to join in and share your story about why #myCNSmatters.

Have you had access to a CNS or not? How has this impacted your blood cancer journey? Join us in saying ‘thank you, my CNS matters' by sending us a photo of yourself on social media explaining why your CNS matters to you. Don't forget to use the hashtag #myCNSmatters

Patient stories

Our latest report, ‘My CNS Matters: The invaluable role of a Clinical Nurse Specialist’, highlights findings from our 2016 patient experience survey that demonstrate the improvements that a CNS add to patient experience.

Some of the key findings are:



Clinical Nurse Specialists can help leukaemia patients to feel more positive, improve understanding at each stage of the cancer journey and ensure that patients are supported.

The value that a CNS adds to leukaemia patient care echoes that across all cancers. This is why in 2015 NHS England made the target of ensuring all cancer patients have access to a named key-worker – usually a CNS. 


 Download our ‘My CNS Matters: The invaluable role of the clinical nurse specialist’ report here.