Trust appoints mental health nurse as Director of Nursing

Mental health nurse Nichola Sanderson has been appointed as the new Director of Nursing, Professions and Quality for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT).

Nichola Sanderson in nurses uniformNichola (pictured) will take up the post in late May 2023 when current postholder Cathy Woffendin takes early retirement.

Nichola has risen from being a mental health staff nurse within wards and community teams in the northwest of England following her initial training in Manchester where she qualified in 2002. She joined LYPFT as Deputy Director of Nursing in April 2017 from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust where she held the role of Associate Director of Nursing.

Reacting to her appointment, Nichola said: “I’m absolutely delighted and humbled to represent the service users, carers and staff at LYPFT. I have very big shoes to fill but I will continue to build on the solid foundations that have been laid.

“I started my career as a mental health staff nurse on an adult acute ward in 2002, and I’ve never looked back. It’s always been really important to me to be in clinical leadership roles and I’ve enjoyed doing this in different NHS trusts.

“The Trust’s values are integral to my own and I’ve always been an ambassador for mental health and learning disability care. So, to work in an organisation that represents the best of this is an honour. I have the privilege of coming to work every day with amazing and dedicated staff, and I look forward to leading our drive for excellent quality care.

“My first priorities will be to meet with staff and services users, and to work with colleagues to retain our talented team members across the entire workforce.”

Dr Sara Munro, Chief Executive of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m delighted Nichola has been appointed and continues the next step in her nursing career with us. Her values and commitment to patient care shone through as did her passion for the professions she will be leading during what was a very rigorous recruitment process. Well done Nichola and welcome to the executive team.”

Merran McRea, Chair of the Trust Board, added: “Nichola shone through amongst an excellent field of candidates for this role, particularly in her passion to getting the best for both service users and staff. She combines a depth of experience with lots of new thinking and clearly showed the strength of her values and her commitment to LYPFT. I believe she will be an asset to the Board and I look forward to working with her in her new role.”

Nichola Sanderson graduated from the University of Manchester with an HND in Mental Health Nursing in 2002. She started her career as mental health acute ward staff nurse at Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation Trust the same year – progressing to Ward Manager.

She then took up a post of Modern Matron at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in 2009, before moving on to be a Nurse Consultant at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in 2011. There she helped set national benchmarks and clinical standards for good practise in unscheduled mental health care and led on suicide prevention.

Nichola was appointed Associate Director of Nursing at Cumbria FT in August 2014 taking responsibility for the provision of clinical leadership and management across inpatient and community services, as well as quality standards in safety, effectiveness and patient experience.

Nichola then made the move across the Pennines to Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in April 2017 as Deputy Director of Nursing. Along the way she has secured a Certificate in Psychological Interventions from the University of Manchester, a National Certificate in Mental Health from Manchester Metropolitan University and a National Certificate in Workplace Mediation from The Open College Network.