My job

‘My holistic role overlaps the boundaries between medicine and nursing’

Nurse consultant Carol Diver advocates taking up new opportunities – even if it takes you out of your comfort zone

Nurse consultant Carol Diver advocates taking up new opportunities – even if it takes you out of your comfort zone

What does your job involve?

I am a Macmillan cancer nurse consultant and my work is divided between clinical and leadership roles. My clinical role is mainly based around lung cancer where I assess and organise investigations for people suspected of having lung cancer. When the diagnosis is made I am responsible for discussing the results and the initial treatment plan with the patient. My work is supervised by medical consultants and treatments are decided by our multidisciplinary team.

Carol Diver: ‘It is rewarding to be
able to support and encourage
new nurses’

I am also the lead cancer nurse on developments for both the lung and acute oncology services for the trust as a whole, and I am an active member on some of Greater Manchester cancer clinical pathway boards. The boards were set up to improve cancer care for patients.

Why did you become a nurse?

I wanted to help people when they were particularly vulnerable. Nurses can cross barriers by making medical terminology accessible so that patients can be involved in their care and treatment decisions. We can do that in a compassionate and caring way – but supported by clinical knowledge.

Why did you choose to specialise?

Cancer is an interesting subject and is always changing due to novel treatments. The work is challenging as it involves dealing with difficult issues at even more difficult times. In addition, cancer clinicians work in multidisciplinary teams where all opinions are valued as being important in making the right decisions for the patient.

Where have you worked previously?

I have spent most of my working career at Tameside Hospital. It is my own local hospital, so I am keen to ensure that we have high standards as this is the hospital used by myself, my friends and family. I worked in our nearby cancer centre in the The Christie hospital in Manchester for a few years so that I could learn more about cancer, its treatments and caring for patients.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am able to work with the patient in a truly holistic way because my role overlaps the boundaries between medicine and nursing. This helps to provide a seamless experience. It is also rewarding to be able to support and encourage new nurses and to make new developments that will improve patient care.

What are the challenges for cancer nursing practice in the 21st century?

The national shortage of nurses is creating difficulties and recruitment of staff with the appropriate skills to care for cancer patients is an added challenge. New roles are being trialled with a view to supporting clinical nurse specialists to carry out their work. However, the challenge is to maintain quality standards with a diverse workforce.

What qualities do you think a cancer nurse should possess?

Empathy, calmness, compassion, credibility and an ability to covey those qualities when working with patients and colleagues. Excellent communication and organisational skills are also crucial.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

I love singing in a choir, which helps me to relax. I also like to run (though only short distances) to keep me fit.

What nursing achievement are you proudest of?

I view my leadership role as that of continuous improvement rather than a single event. I am proud of all my cancer clinical nurse specialist colleagues who work tirelessly with patients, and I hope I am able to support them in doing that so all our patients benefit.

What advice would you give a newly qualified nurse in your field?

I would encourage new nurses to decide on the area in which they would like to flourish and then develop a personal action plan looking at what training and experience they would need to get there.

Always put patients first, be proactive and creative and say yes to new opportunities offered to you, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

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