Diane Dunn, lead cancer nurse at the Imperial College Healthcare Trust, London, UK, discusses the key lessons learnt from initiatives to improve patient experience and the role of specialist cancer nurses in the Imperial College Healthcare Trust. She talks about the need to get a commitment from one’s organisation to carry out projects by demonstrating the areas in which improvements can be made, and the need to have a significant source of initial funding to enable a pilot project, allowing a concept to be improved and make work within one’s organisation. Such a move future-proofs projects by ensuring ongoing funding from within one’s own organisation. She discusses the Macmillan cancer navigator service, including the importance of a continual learning and orientation programs for navigators. The value of promotional pathways for junior specialist nurses and need to retain senior nurses is also discussed. Recorded at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS), held in Brighton, UK.