Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content

Making an impact in cancer care

Home / More / News / Making an impact in cancer care

Published on 15 February 2024

Kelly Craggs
Kelly Craggs

The University of Sunderland recently celebrated National Apprenticeship Week, with a series of events shining a spotlight on hard-working apprentices - and one Sunderland apprentice is making a considerable impact to cancer care in the region.

Kelly Craggs is the Macmillan Cancer Lead Nurse at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. She is also coming to the end of her Senior Leader MBA Apprenticeship and will graduate this summer.

Her dedication to enhancing the quality of life for patients following a cancer diagnosis has been evident throughout her two-decade-long career. Notably, her expertise as a cancer specialist nurse has led to transformative changes in the field of head and neck cancers at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. 

In her current role as Macmillan Cancer Lead Nurse, Kelly has not only continued to excel in clinical practice but has demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities. She has played a crucial role in aligning nursing contributions with cancer services goals, contributing to the national initiative in cancer treatment.

Kelly’s innovative approach and commitment to advancing cancer services have been further highlighted through her time at the University as she studies the Senior Leader MBA Apprenticeship. 

Through this course, Kelly has acquired transferable skills that have empowered her to apply her extensive knowledge and experience in areas such as innovation, recruitment, retention, and sustainability. The academic learning obtained through the apprenticeship has enabled her to make substantial contributions to her role and other areas within the organisation. 

Kelly has also been behind two crucially important programmes. First, the Cancer Information Hub, a digital resource launched last year, which has proven to be immensely successful, reaching and supporting thousands of patients, families, and caregivers with valuable cancer-related information.  

Second, her foresight in addressing the future shortage of specialist cancer nurses through the Cancer Internship Pilot Programme, funded by Health Education England. As well as providing a platform for registered nurses to develop their skills, it also contributes to effective succession planning in the field. Kelly has recently won the Best Workplace for Learning and Development award for this initiative.    

Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive said, “Kelly’s journey from a healthcare assistant to a strategic leader in cancer care exemplifies the positive impact of leadership development programmes and apprenticeships.

“Kelly’s achievements and commitment to excellence are making a real difference to the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and the people it serves. She is also an inspiration to future nursing leaders and, indeed, all those who hold, or aspire to, senior leadership positions.

"Kelly’s work has been fully supported and influenced by an outstanding academic team at the University of Sunderland who go ‘above and beyond’ in the support they provide to our apprentices and students.”