My job

60 seconds with Macmillan nurse consultant Diana Greenfield

Have the confidence to be ambitious and get experience in a variety of fields before specialising, says Diana Greenfield. 

Have the confidence to be ambitious and get experience in a variety of fields before specialising, says Diana Greenfield. 

Diana Greenfield gained a degree in nursing from Bristol Polytechnic in 1988. After working in London as a staff nurse and in Australia as an agency nurse, she became a research sister at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She started working in oncology in 2001, setting up the collaborative late effects of cancer treatment research group at the trust and university. In 2009 Professor Greenfield was made nurse consultant and clinical lead for the late effects clinical service, a post she has held for 7 years. She lives in Sheffield and has two sons, aged 18 and 21

Diana Greenfield.

What are your main work responsibilities?  
There are four strands: direct patient care, leading clinical services, influencing clinical service improvement locally, regionally and nationally, and research and education. 

How did you get your job?  
The nurse consultant role was created in 2009 following the publication of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance, which recommended late effects care for all childhood cancer survivors. 

Who are your clients/patients?
People who have had cancer treatment and are at risk of late or long-term treatment effects, such as childhood cancer survivors and patients who have had bone marrow transplants. 

What do you love about your job? 
Working with patients is incredibly rewarding. I also love the variety and autonomy of the role. 

What do you find most difficult? 
Making changes in complex NHS organisations, and the virtual ceiling applied to clinical nurses. I believe their skills are not valued highly enough by policymakers, the public and the government. 

What is your top priority at work?
Direct patient care and, more broadly, improving the patient experience for people living with and beyond cancer. 

What has been your most formative career experience? 
My nursing degree, which was quite radical. In the first term we did a community-based project, looking at how public services such as housing, schooling and policing affect health. This helped me to see how a community works and gave me incredible insight for an 18 year old. 

If you hadn’t become a nurse, what would you have done instead? 
I studied A levels in physics, maths and art and wanted to be a medical illustrator. 

What career advice would you give your younger self? 
To be bolder and more tenacious, have the confidence to be more ambitious, and get experience in a variety of fields and healthcare settings before specialising. 

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