Sandra Scores a Double

With just a few weeks to go before retiring, Sandra Campbell, NHS Forth Valley Macmillan Nurse Consultant in Cancer and Palliative Care, received a mysterious email asking if she could be free for half an hour on a Saturday afternoon and to expect a parcel.

All was soon revealed.

Sandra had been awarded the President of the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) Lifetime Achievement Award for dedication to cancer and palliative care nursing which was ‘presented’ at their recent virtual conference.

Sandra explains: “I was on the UKONS Board for six years from 2014 and stepped down only last year so was very surprised by this award. I was honoured and very proud to be a Board member representing Scotland and also to receive the award.

“UKONS is an amazing organisation with a great vision and focus on cancer nursing education. I have attended the conference almost every year since commencing my post in 2006.”

The winner of many awards over the years, Sandra recently retired from her post at the end of November 2021. Commenting on her many years of service in Forth Valley, she said: “I have had a fantastic nursing career and worked with so many amazing people but this last year has been the saddest for me with the impact of Covid. I am in awe of the human spirit but this pandemic has been a tragedy for many beyond belief.”

Sandra intends to remain on our local Staff Bank to continue to support bereavement project work.

Her colleague Jane Niblo, Manager/Macmillan Community Care Nurse, helped arrange a ‘wee impromptu tea’ to celebrate Sandra’s retirement and compiled this tribute to a much loved and valued member of staff.

With over 40 years of service, Sandra qualified in 1981 and gained experience in a variety of care settings then developed a passion for cancer and palliative care, with a particular interest in the value of good communication.

Her latest strategic role allowed her to fulfil a vision of really making a difference to patient care – by working with many teams providing leadership on initiatives in cancer and palliative Care at local and national level. This role included expert practice, leadership and consultancy, education and research and service development. She was privileged to be the UK Clinical Lead for End of Life Care on an RCN project in 2014-15 and to perform the role of National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care in Scotland for two years, one day per week between April 2017 and April 2019.

Sandra also studied at Doctorate level for five years and was a UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) Board member since 2014. She was also on the Board of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care (SPPC) and the Committee of the RCN Pain and Palliative Care Forum. In addition, Sandra has also received awards from the RCN and Macmillan in recognition for her amazing work in cancer and palliative care.

One of Sandra’s proudest achievements was the development of the Macmillan One to One Service in Forth Valley which is a permanent service providing support to people “Living With and Beyond Cancer”. Their use of the Holistic Needs Assessment tool in meeting unmet needs ensures that people referred to the service receive person centred care, signposting and referring on to other services as appropriate.

Furthermore, Sandra also identified a gap in palliative and end of life care for patients in the community and, in 2019, was successful in securing funding for a Macmillan Project which offered person centred personal and end of life care to people in their own homes. The team of healthcare support workers has built up an excellent relationship with patients, their loved ones and the community nursing teams throughout Forth Valley. This ensures patients are cared for in their own homes for as long as possible.

Sandra’s retirement will create a huge gap of knowledge and expertise in Cancer and Palliative Care.