A NURSE leading cancer services in Worcestershire has been picked to speak at an international conference in the USA looking at how treatment for the condition can be made more comfortable.

Cancer manager for Worcestershire Anne Sullivan will be one of 11 delegates from the UK speaking at the International Conference on Cancer Nursing in Panama in September.

Ms Sullivan, who has played a key role in the development of Worcester’s state-of-the-art new radiotherapy centre, will speak at the event arranged hosted by the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care following her research into how the design and physical environment of radiotherapy units impacts on patient’s recovery.

She said she was “thrilled” to be sharing what she had learned during her research at the conference.

“Hospitals, and especially radiotherapy units, are characterised by the presence of large machines and equipment that can seem strange and impersonal to patients,” she said.

“Patients told me that the centre should be homely, comfortable, personal and friendly with a feeling of warmth.

“They wanted a light airy environment and contact with the outside environment, especially nature views, to help their wellbeing.

“My research also revealed that facilities that reflected normality for patients contribute to the overall experience – patients told me that they wanted access to a shop and a café area that could act as a positive distraction to help relieve the stress and boredom of being in a radiotherapy environment.”

Following Ms Sullivan's research the new unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, which is due to open in January next year, is decorated with photographs of Worcester parks which, along with floor-to-ceiling glass throughout the centre, creates a pleasant and tranquil environment.