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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences
(023) 8059 7911

Ms Kay Townsend MSc, BSC (Hons), RN, RNT

Lecturer in Cancer Care

Ms Kay Townsend's photo

Kay Townsend is a lecturer within Health Sciences, University of Southampton. Kay’s clinical experience is in cancer care, and her educational expertise lies in cancer, palliative and end of life care, communication skills and facilitation of learning. Somehow Kay also became involved in teaching and assessing drug calculations.

Healthcare education for me is first and foremost about enhancing the experience of people with care needs in the development of skilled, critical, capable healthcare professionals.

My nursing career has taken me from early days in respiratory care to cancer care. Before I came to lecture at the University of Southampton I worked for many years in the Cancer Care Directorate at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) in medical and clinical oncology.

I joined the team of lecturers and researchers in cancer, palliative and end of life care at the University of Southampton in 2007. We’ve been careful to ensure that cancer care is threaded through the all graduate and post-graduate pre-registration nursing curriculums and a really exciting development is the core second year (adult nurse) module in palliative and end of life care that I lead. I also lead a post-qualifying degree module about Care of People with Cancer. The credit awarded on successful completion of this degree level module can be used in the MSc in Clinical Leadership in Cancer, Palliative and End of Life Care. This is an innovative programme which considers relational skills of clinical leadership to be pivotal in the development of others and leading and transforming services.

Outside the school I contributed to the end of life care communication skills training across the SHA region as both a trainer and in the governance of the training. More recently Macmillan has recently commissioned a practice nurse course in cancer care that will be a practical and active way to develop knowledge and skills of these key practitioners.

In 2014 an honorary contract with UHS means that I return to clinical practice in the malignant haematology nursing team. An insight into the practice and development in this area of nursing will inform not only the pre-registration education but also future post-qualifying nurse education.

Research interests

Development of Cancer Care services

Education in Cancer, Palliative and End of Life Care

Methods of practice inquiry and practice development

Research project

My Life in Hospital: delivering dignity by engaging patients and nursing staff in creative reflections (contributor). This project is funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and is 12 month collaboration between Health Sciences at the University of Southampton, Medicine for Older People and Palliative Medicine at University Hospitals Southampton and Winchester School of Art. It aims to promote compassion in hospital care for older people by supporting the establishment of a reflective culture, peer support and clinical supervision.

Research group

Complex Healthcare Processes

Kay represents Health Sciences on the Wessex Area Team Cancer Network.

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Farrington, N & Townsend, K (2014) Enhancing nurse-patient communication: a critical reflection. British Journal of Nursing, 23 (14): pp771-775 DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2014.23.14.771

Book Section

Townsend, K. (2009) Insights from clinical experts: Cancer Care Nursing in Levett-Jones, T. & Bourgeois, S. The Clinical Placement 2nd Edition. London: Elsevier, pp136-138

Fenlon, D & Townsend, K. (2011) chapter 10: hormones as a treatment for cancer in Harmer, V. (editor) Breast Cancer Care and Management. Oxford: Blackwell

Townsend, K, Pogson, D, and Sepion E (2014) Communication in difficult situations in Reading, S and Webster, B (editors) Competencies for nursing practice: a handbook for student nurses. Maidenhead: Open University Press & McGraw-Hill Education

Conference or Workshop Item

Duke, S and Townsend, K (2013) Using stories for education - a practical workshop 30th British Psychosocial Oncology Society Annual Conference, Southampton

Duke, S and Townsend, K (2013) Death and Dying Workshops Continuing professional development, South Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Duke, S, Bennett, H, Cullen, C, Sepion, B, Townsend, K, Pickering, C, Smith, L, Larcher, V, Harrop, E, Franklin, H (2012) Residential Summit for eolc education leaders working with practitioners working with children, teenagers and young people South Central Strategic Health Authority

Duke, S, Bennett, H, Cullen, C, Sepion, B, Townsend, K, Franklin, H (2012) What Is The Potential For Using Blended Learning Strategies For End Of Life Care Communication Skills Training? European Congress on Paediatric Palliative Care, Rome

Duke, S, Lund, S, Townsend, K, Smith L (2012) Does it do what it says on the tin? Using a licensed communication skills training package to increase capability and capacity in end of life care International Psycho-oncology Conference 14th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology, Brisbane

Duke, S, Sepion, B, Townsend, K (2012) Having Difficult Conversations with families – an interactive workshop Together for Short Lives, A design for Life UK children’s palliative care practitioners’ conference, Birmingham


Module coordinator:

BN (Hons) Adult Nursing (pre-registration programme core module) Palliative and End of Life Care

BSc (Hons) Clinical Practice optional module Care of People with Cancer

MSc Clinical Leadership in Cancer, Palliative and End of Life Care core module Policy and Service Design in Cancer, Palliative and End of Life Care

Course Lead (with Dr Deborah Fenlon) Macmillan Practice Nurse Course in Cancer Care.

Ms Kay Townsend
University of Southampton Health Sciences Building 67 Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 67/3059

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