Jenni Hallman

Jenni is the first ever Complementary Therapy Nurse Specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). She offers a massage service primarily to cancer patients on Elephant, Lion and Safari wards. The role is part time alongside her job as Senior Staff Nurse on Elephant Ward.

Why is complementary therapy important?

Spending time in hospital can be a frightening experience. Meeting a stream of different health professionals, coping with high-tech machinery and undergoing treatment is often daunting, let alone getting to grips with the illness itself.

Complementary therapy, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy and massage, is being used more and more in hospitals alongside clinical treatment.

The aim is to alleviate the symptoms of certain illnesses, while also helping with anxiety, fear, stress, pain management and sleeping problems.

Working on the wards

Since December 2010, Jenni has treated nearly 70 patients, prioritising those that have bad side effects from their treatment. Jenni works closely with children who are anxious, stressed or newly diagnosed, and liaises closely with occupational therapists, physiotherapists and the nursing teams.

Specific approach

Having spent seven years as a Senior Staff Nurse on Elephant Ward, Jenni understands the needs of patients. For example, some children with cancer find that their sense of smell is affected by the treatment, so aromatherapy wouldn’t be appropriate.

Likewise, the contraindications of cancer treatments can include muscle pain, constipation or peripheral nerve pain. It’s important to understand and adapt to the needs of the patients. Being a nurse, Jenni can talk to parents about their child’s medical condition, as well as carrying out complementary therapy.

How is complementary therapy funded at GOSH?

Jenni is funded by the Barcapel Foundation, through Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, and is supervised by a complementary therapist at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.