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Professor Diana Greenfield, Consultant Nurse in Late Effects (of cancer treatment) at Sheffield Teaching Hospital.


Can you tell us your name and job title?

Prof Diana Greenfield. My job title is Consultant Nurse in Late Effects (of cancer treatment) at Sheffield Teaching Hospital.

I have two other hats! I’m an Honorary Professor (in the Department of Oncology and Metabolism) at the University of Sheffield.

I’m also a senior nurse research leader working 2 days per week within the trust.  This is a secondment funded by NIHR.

Can you tell us something about yourself?

I love Marmite! I’m also an ageing rock chick :)

Why did you choose nursing as a career?

My Father asked me this question when he was clearly hugely disappointed I hadn’t chosen medicine. My response: “I want to CARE not CURE!” He smiled and accepted my hot-headed decision as a 17 year old and I haven’t looked back. And Dad supported every decision I made from there on in.

Can you tell us something about your nursing life before becoming a trustee for St Luke’s?

I’ve been involved in national initiatives for living with and beyond cancer and the growing concept of cancer as a long-term condition over the last decade or more. Over this time, with medical developments, we are seeing more and more patients living long-term with incurable cancer. But whilst medicine developed, support services have not extended for this cohort of patients. I got involved with St Luke’s when it acquired Clifford House and we started to think about services it might offer to people in Sheffield with terminal illnesses, including those living long-term with their illness. In addition, I was very much aware of the reputation of St Luke’s in providing fantastic end of life care and wanted to use this opportunity to learn more and get more involved in this incredibly important area of care.

Why did you decide to become a trustee for St Luke’s?

It was suggested to me that I consider a Trustee role and so it came to be!

How is being a trustee at St Luke’s aligned to your other nursing experience?

As a Trustee with a nursing background, I’m a member of the Health Care Governance committee as well as the non-executive member of the Board. My background as a clinical academic nurse has also given me an opportunity to be a member of St Luke’s research committee. I’d love to see St Luke’s nurses being more research active within their clinical roles!

What is the thing you enjoy most about being part of the St Luke’s team?

It is a never ending source of pride to learn about the amazing care and initiatives St Luke’s are involved with.

I’ve experienced the care first hand. My father died last year in a nursing home after a long degenerative illness. A St Luke’s specialist nurse was with us as he died. He died peacefully and we were all confident he had the best end of life care he could possibly have, given the incredible skill and compassion of our St Luke’s community palliative care nurse.

We all want that for our nearest and dearests (and for ourselves) in the end. St Luke’s care is exemplary.

What are the specific challenges of working in palliative care?

I’m sure each of your has their own challenges. From my perspective, a key challenge at the front line is to ensure St Luke’s is able to look after the health and well-being of staff delivering end of life care given the emotional burden of the care you deliver. The trustees and board members care very much and are committed to ensuring as much as possible can be done to support the St Luke’s workforce.

The other challenge is that the hospice is a charity and so is dependent on a charitable income. This means income generation is an on-going industry requiring a whole different expertise than for delivering care. From my perspective, as a trustee, we need to ensure the hospice is governed to the highest standards in every respect of its responsibilities. And it does.

Have you acquired any new skills during your time with St Luke’s?

Definitely. I have learnt an awful lot about end of life care but there is definitely more to learn, as this isn’t my area of clinical practice. Plus, this is my first board experience so I have learnt hugely from both fellow trustees particularly those who come from business settings and, of course, from St Luke’s staff!

What sort of things do you do to help you relax away from the job?

Being a trustee is a volunteering role so it is my hobby :)

I also like walking in the Peak District and am a keen reader, mainly of fiction but am currently having a spate of reading biographies and reading about interesting lives!

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