“All great literature deals with the highs and lows of human experience. If you have some resources and perspective yourself on life experience - which literature can offer- it is helpful when dealing with loss and death. Literature also provides the message of choice, human agency and overcoming difficult and grand emotion. These are the things that don’t come easy in a clinical setting but are very important.” ~ Dr. Anne Lanceley in Personal Communication.
Dr. Anne Lanceley, a nurse and senior lecturer in the Department of Women’s Cancer at University College London and a collaborating scientist at GIPPEC, is joining the GIPPEC team in Toronto while on sabbatical for the summer. We interviewed her to find out more about her life, her clinical and research work and her experience in Toronto.
Anne became interested in pursuing nursing as a child since she was fascinated by her mother’s nursing career. In university, she discovered English literature. For Anne, English literature provides her with a different insight into people and how they experience illness and loss. This passion in literature has continued to shape her life and work since.
In her early clinical career, Anne commissioned the first UK Teenage Cancer Unit. “This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I had because of the highly charged emotional circumstances.” Anne was particularly interested in how nurses engage with patients and families particularly in these contexts. Therefore, for her PhD, she looked at how nurses respond to emotion from patients.
After her PhD, as she was writing the paper, Cancer in Other Words? The Role of Metaphor in Emotion Disclosure in Cancer Patients, one of the reviewers suggested that she look at Drs. Gary Rodin and Sarah Hales’s work because they were developing interventions that addressed a similar area of healthcare. In 2013, Dr. Lanceley and Dr. Rodin, GIPPEC director, got in contact. Anne subsequently attended Drs. Rodin and Hales’ CALM workshop in Toronto, a workshop designed to teach and supervise healthcare professionals in delivering the CALM, or Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully psychotherapy. Anne found it inspiring how there was an intervention that seemed to encapsulate her experiences with patients.
Today, as a nurse, senior lecturer and GIPPEC scientist, she supervises six PhD students. Anne also involed Chloe Shaw, a colleague at University College London, to work on the CALM research team and so began a very fruitful additional research strand using conversation analaysis to detail the process of CALM therapy.
During her time in Toronto, Anne will be working on a grant proposal looking at the feasibility of training nurses to deliver the CALM intervention to patients. She is also working on a book on nurse-patient relational skills drawing on case-based examples. “There is little information out there on what they actually do on a daily basis and I hope this book will shed further light on their role in healthcare", said Anne.
After work, Anne has also been enjoying her time in Toronto. Since her arrival in May, she has bought herself a rather playful bike and visited dozens of places in Toronto. While Anne also cycles in London, she finds the roads here are more conducive to biking and that biking is a great way to see the city.
In Toronto, Anne also had the opportunity to go to the Death Café at the Belljar Café where people talked openly about death, their fears and their feelings about death.
Lastly, she notes that both London and Toronto are very multicultural. She finds it interesting how ethnic restaurants in Toronto are often more segregated in certain locations - Korean restaurants seem to be clustered around one area, while Portuguese restaurants are around another.
We want to thank Dr. Lanceley for taking the time to answer our questions and we are glad that she has traded her London office view of a Victorian hospital for one of Lake Ontario for the summer!