Reader in Clinical Cancer Nursing


Joint appointment between Ulster University and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

Dr Cherith Semple has been appointed to a new role as a Reader in Clinical Cancer Nursing. This post is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and one of just a handful across the UK.  This flagship role is jointly funded by Ulster University and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT).

Dr Cherith Semple is an excellent example of a nurse who not only delivers high quality care on the frontline but also one who embraces research and innovation to drive forward improvements in nursing care. Her outstanding contribution to cancer nursing has been acknowledged through her award of RCN NI Nurse of the Year (2015) and her recent inclusion in the Queen’s Honours list for MBE.

Cherith, who is a clinical academic nurse, will lead projects to improve care for patients and their families with cancer, using evidence generated from international research studies.  She will maximise opportunities for supporting clinical nursing colleagues to develop their research skills, supervise PhD students, impact teaching programmes for nurses, while providing direct care for patients and their families newly diagnosed with head and neck cancer at the Ulster Hospital.

Professor McIlfatrick, Head of School commented, “We are delighted to welcome Cherith to this new role which is in line with the School of Nursing and Ulster University’s goal to undertake high quality research and teaching that has an impact on our civic society’’. 

The collaboration with SEHSCT and Nursing at Ulster University has been well established over the past number of years. This innovative post demonstrates further commitment to generating and implementing evidence that will impact positively on the care received by patients and their families living with cancer.  Professor Tanya McCance, Research Director for Nursing & Health Sciences said “We are excited about the potential of this new clinical academic role and I have no doubt Cherith will continue to work hard to make a difference in practice through her research and innovation’’.

Nicki Patterson, Director of Nursing, Older People and Primary Care at SEHSCT stated that “this role is a great example of how nursing provides career opportunities which can span direct clinical practice, research and teaching for the benefit of patients and the profession’s knowledge base. Nurses often grapple with having to choose between continuing to engage in direct clinical practice or moving away from "the bedside” as their career progresses. Posts such as this enable the nurse to continue to deliver expert direct clinical care whilst also taking a leading role in developing the evidence base for the future. As we progress with transformation of services in NI this role and others like it will become all the more important to shape the future of how services are designed and delivered with and for our population. Nurses are well placed to lead the transformation of health care and this post is an exemplar of how this can be achieved”.

Cherith said: “As a cancer nurse, I am excited and keen to take on this innovative partnership role.  This new post provides a tremendous opportunity, with the synergy generated from the clinical and research interface, facilitating patient-centred research for people with cancer and their families. Collaborations such as this can focus on improving healthcare outcomes, enabling healthcare professionals to deliver the highest quality care.  I look forward to working with colleagues across both organisations and beyond’’.

L-R: Nicki Patterson, Director of Nursing, Older People and Primary Care with the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust; Dr Cherith Semple, Reader in Clinical Cancer Nursing; Prof Tanya McCance, Research Director – Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University; Prof Sonja McIlfatrick, Head of School of Nursing, Ulster University.