Forging a career in oncology

The Msc Specialist Practice (Cancer) course at Manchester aims to help health professionals further their knowledge and practical skills in relation to oncology. David Wright is a student on the course and here, he tells us a bit about his career in oncology and haematology so far and also gives us an insight to what it’s like being a student on such a specialist programme. 

Why Oncology?                                                                                                                                     

I have worked in both haematology , oncology and teenage and young adult oncology for nearly 20 years and so an oncology based master’s seemed the most sensible, rewarding and beneficial programme to follow. Not only would I be able to use a lot of my experience to support my studies but there would also be opportunities to take new ideas and approaches back in to the workplace.


Course content

So far the content of the three courses has been very diverse. My Haematology Oncology module covered the key areas related to this topic, including the main diseases, the side effects and psychosocial impacts of haematological conditions. I think this has been my favourite module because it is so much of what I have done during my nursing career.

The module that has impacted most positively on my practice has been the Advanced Communications module. This is a very practice based course and really encourages the practitioner to examine their communication styles and techniques and work on the areas that would enhance communication with patients, relatives and colleagues. I use these techniques on a daily basis and feel that they have greatly enhanced my practice.


My third module related to Developing Practice and Managing Change will impact positively on my future practice as a senior nurse and was a module that delivered a wide range of ideas and practical suggestions to improve practice in what can be a very challenging area.


I have received the right amount of support from both the course facilitators who have been contactable and helpful throughout my modules, and also a lot of support from fellow students. This has been great and really helpful within the lectures and breakout sessions. The online learning has also allowed for a sharing of information and ideas that has been beneficial at the time of completing assignments.



I would thoroughly recommend it because it is a great way of reflecting on your past and present practice, as well as equipping you to face and overcome the challenges of your future career. Also on a practical level it is also essential for anyone that sees themselves working in senior roles within oncology in the future.

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