Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice: “I’m proud to be a nurse – it’s an absolute privilege.”

Advanced Clinical Practitioner, Nicola Clayforth, has opened up about her experience of working at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice for International Nurses Day on 12 May.

With almost 30 years’ experience working in healthcare, Nicola, 47, explains her journey to becoming the Headingley-based hospice’s first Advanced Clinical Practitioner.

Nicola: “Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice has always been close to my heart because my Grandad died here when I was 13 and I remember visiting him. I think I was drawn to palliative care through personal experience. When I started working as a Healthcare Assistant, I knew without doubt that palliative care was my future.

I started at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice as a Healthcare Assistant in 1998 and completed my nurse training at the hospice through the Open University. This was a new way of undertaking nurse training at the time, meaning I could train to be a nurse whilst still working in the area and place that I loved.

I qualified as a Registered Nurse at the beginning of 2007 and although I still saw my future in palliative care, I felt I needed to obtain some oncology experience, to fully understand the journey our patients often had. I returned to the hospice as a Senior Staff Nurse in 2015. It felt like I was coming home!

In 2018 I became a Team Leader on the inpatient unit, and the following year I obtained my prescribing qualification. With the hospice’s help, I went on to complete my MSc degree in Advanced Clinical Practice, and at the end of January this year was delighted to learn that I had achieved a distinction! 

It’s a new role at the hospice but one that will undoubtedly be invaluable in helping to deliver the high standards of patient care that we endeavour to achieve on a daily basis, and pride ourselves on.

I just love to make a difference. People often ask me how I do this job. My response is always the same and that’s that it’s an absolute privilege. We can’t change the outcome for people – that’s beyond our capabilities – but what we can do is make things easier for patients and their loved ones. We can help people achieve a good death, but we also help them continue to live until they die.

I’m proud to be a nurse – it’s a privilege. I couldn’t think of doing anything else.”

For more information on Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, visit

Image: Nicola Clayforth outside Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.

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