A career in nursing

As a nurse specialist, Lou provides essential support to head and neck cancer patients and their whānau - caring for them as they come to terms with the diagnosis and then undergo treatment. Lou is actively involved in clinical decision making and takes responsibility for navigating the patient through their cancer journey.

Lou began her nursing career in head and neck cancer in 1994, and has worked in hospitals in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Lou originally hails from Hokitika on the West Coast of New Zealand, but eventually moved to London where she lived for 15 years. Returning to New Zealand in 2013, Lou now lives in Auckland with her husband, two boys, and West Highland Terrier named Tosh. In 2017, Lou commenced work as a head and neck nurse specialist for MercyAscot Hospital.

Lou works as part of a multidisciplinary team of highly-skilled surgeons and professionals including: 

  • Dietitian
  • Speech and language specialist
  • Swallow specialist
  • Lymphedema physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Radiation & medical oncology specialists

Lou works closely with Belinda Reeves (head and neck dietitian); the combination of their specialities has shown vast improvements in patients’ recovery, shorter length of stay, improved nutritional status, wound healing, and avoiding potential complications. Support from Lou and Belinda during and following treatment has proven to be invaluable. In 2019 they founded, and now co-manage, the MercyAscot Head and Neck Cancer Support Group.