Sandra Byrne-Cruickshank

Sandra is one of the lead nurses’ for Chronic Kidney Disease Services at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. She is an inspiration who is full of life, humour and above all a beautiful, compassionate human being.

She started her career in nursing in 1987 when she trained as a nurse at Lister. She found her passion in renal nursing and widened her horizon in this specialist area. Sandra’s passion to improve quality of care for patients with kidney disease was evident from early on in her career. As a newly qualified nurse, Sandra presented a research paper at an international conference (EDTNA) on a novel approach to needling technique of arteriovenous fistula for dialysis whilst this area was still in infancy.

Her enthusiasm for transplantation is irresistible. She developed the ‘Gift of Life’ patient information booklet for ODT (NHSBT now) with some of her colleagues in the field of transplantation to encourage living donation. Due to her tireless efforts in engaging with key partnerships, she has streamlined transplantation and living donor services at Lister Hospital. As a result, transplant programme at Lister Hospital though a non-transplant centre, has achieved several milestones which includes excellent pre-emptive transplant listing rate and living donation transplant rate.

Her innovation knows no boundaries. She spearheaded a project with a local artist in promoting organ donation through a mural that has been installed throughout the hospital. This mural is the first of the kind in the UK that encourage organ donation discussion among families in an inclusive setting. Sandra was also a key member of the steering group of Living Transplant Initiative (LTI) working closely with key stakeholders of this project. This project had overseen many renal units in the country engage in promoting living donation among BAME communities.

Sandra’s achievements as a nurse, are phenomenal in enhancing patient experience. This was duly recognised by one of many patients’ she nursed and earned her a Chief Executive Award for outstanding contribution to patient care in 2008.

Her ethos of multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach to improve patient outcomes is apparent in her ventures. She was integral in developing and running the Transitional Dialysis Unit (TDU) service. This service is a collaboration of medical, nursing, dietetic and support services such as counsellors and social workers supporting patients who are unplanned starters on dialysis. This model of care significantly improved patient engagement with various aspects of their care.

She was instrumental in setting up ‘Florence unit’, a dialysis facility to care safely for patients who tested COVID positive. During these unprecedented times, Sandra’s positivity, dynamism, and effervescence alongside her professionalism has cultivated a positive working environment. She is an exceptional leader who goes the extra mile to make everyone she encounters feel valued, appreciated, and respected. Being a great listener, she understands challenges from the grass root level, which is reflected in her commitment to improving and revolutionising the way we deliver care.

We are very proud of Sandra and would like to see her go far and beyond.

Ananda Valli Manoj

(on behalf of Lister Renal Team)