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Cancer leadership and a personal journey

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Liz Darlison on cancer leadership and reaching a crossroads in her own life

After module three of the Cancer Leadership Progamme I felt that my career plan, if I ever had one, had been thrown up in the air. I have been really lucky, in life generally and professionally.

I had a career plan originally I wanted to be a clinical tutor but NHS reform moved the goalposts faster than I could get to where I wanted to be, so somewhere in the late 80’s early 90’s I stopped making plans and made the most of where I was at and seized every opportunity that came my way. I discovered that nursing is wonderful for allowing you to emphasise the parts of the role you want to develop.

I took on responsibility for education within the ward I worked; I progressed to being a practice development nurse. I also spent several years as a ward sister, which I consider essential for any nurse. Dare I say - it should be mandatory before being allowed to move into specialist or more senior positions where leadership is required.

So back to the leadership programme and module 4, and me feeling all at sea. The support is excellent throughout the course you are really well supported and tutorials with the programme leaders are available.

I avoided arranging a tutorial because I felt so unsettled and I didn’t want to expose that. I am responsible for the development of a National Resource Centre that has received considerable financial and professional support.

Mesothelioma UK is now very much established within the Mesothelioma and lung cancer world, and my commitment and enthusiasm cannot start to wane.

Nursing Times Award-winner Liz Darlison is participating in the National Cancer Leadership Programme

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