The University of Southampton
Health Sciences
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Professor Alison Richardson BN (Hons), MSc, PhD, PgDipEd, RNT

Clinical Professor in Cancer Nursing and End of Life Care

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Professor Alison Richardson is Clinical Professor of Cancer Nursing and End of Life Care at the university of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Alison holds a clinical academic appointment, which means she combines clinical practice and research. She works in a senior leadership position at Southampton General Hospital where she works alongside members of the multidisciplinary team caring for patients with cancer and approaching the end of life to improve patient care through the generation and application of research. Her research centres on understanding the experiences of people affected by cancer and other life limiting illnesses and developing nurse-led interventions that can respond to the issues and problems that people have to confront as part of thier day-to-day lives.

Understanding the experiences of patients and their families affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions is central to ensuring the care we deliver is fit for purpose.

Appointed in September 2009 to joint clinical chair between the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital directed at achieving evidence-based cancer nursing care.

Current role

Develop and manage research programme in cancer, palliative and end of life care
Provide leadership to clinical academic staff
Strategic development and leadership of cancer and palliative nursing services at Southampton General Hospital
Enhance research capacity and capability of nurses and allied health professionals in practice

Advisory group membership

January 2009- to 2013. Chair of the National Cancer Action Team Cancer Nursing and Quality Group

2003 - to date. Member of Editorial Board of European Journal of Oncology Nursing and Founding Editor

2014 appointed as member of international panel to review Irish Cancer Strategy

2011 - Current Member of The University Hospitals (AUKUH) Clinical Academic Careers Development Group

2012 - to date.  Member of National Cancer Research Institute Support and Palliative Care Clinical Studies Group

Propagate evidence based practice and innovation in cancer, palliative and end of life care

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Research interests

Understanding the experiences of people affected by cancer, life limiting illness and who are at the end of life; Nurse-led interventions for issues and problems confronted by patients with cancer and their families (in particular cancer-related fatigue); the contribution of nurses to achieving effective, patient-centred cancer, palliative and end of life care; mixed method evaluations of cancer and palliative care services; the emotional well-being of cancer, palliative and end of life care workforce; multi-disciplinary teamwork in cancer care.

We are working with Health Education England, the National Institute for Health Research (HEE/NIHR) and a number of other funders of Research Training Awards to determine the enablers and barriers to pursuing a research-related career amongst Healthcare Professionals (excluding doctors and dentists) using an Online Survey. This participant information sheet provides more details about the study.

Research group

Complex Healthcare Processes

Affiliate research group

Wessex CLAHRC Theme 6

Research project(s)

A phase I-II feasibility trial of Cancer Carer Medicines Management (CCMM): an educational intervention for carer management of pain medication in cancer patients at end of life.

Supporting family caregivers in the transition between hospital and their relative’s preferred place for end of life care

This study is an implementation study of best evidence, from previously conducted studies including reviews of randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses, about supporting family caregivers of individuals at the end of life.

An investigation into the use of the EORTC Core instrument and the possible need of a module for the assessment of Health Related Quality of Life in Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with cancer


Development, implementation and evaluation of the True NTH Supported Self Management and Follow Up Care Programme

Traditional follow-up care for men with prostate cancer is resource intensive and there is little evidence to show that it effectively meets men’s needs. This project is developing, implementing and evaluating a new model of care, which provides men with the knowledge, resources and support to self-manage their own follow-up.

Feasibility of establishing a cohort of lung cancer patients treated with curative intent to gather patient reported outcomes

Feasibility of establishing a cohort of lung cancer patients treated with curative intent [CIn] radiotherapy to gather patient reported outcomes

The experience of patients with Cancer of Unknown Primary: Analysis from England's national Cancer Patient Experience Survey programme

There are two objectives to this study. Firstly, the study is analysing free-text data from the national Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) to explore the reported quality of life of patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP). Secondly, we will compare the reported outcome measures of patients with CUP with patients who have metastatic cancer of a known primary.

Self-Management of analgesia and related treatments at the end of life (SMARTE)

Despite there being a good understanding of patient and carer concerns regarding opioid analgesia and related side effects, much less is known about the best ways of addressing these concerns. We aim to develop a support tool to improve the management of medications for pain relief, nausea constipation and drowsiness in patients with significant pain approaching the end of life within a theoretically informed behaviour change framework. The expected benefits of the Self-management Support Tool for patients will be improvements in symptom relief and increased confidence in managing medicines and related side effects by themselves, or jointly with their informal carer.

NIHR Wessex Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (Wessex CLAHRC) - Theme 6: Complexity, Patient Experience, Organizational Behaviour

Wessex CLAHRC is partnership of providers, commissioners, patients, public, clinicians and researchers. It aims to put into practice what we learn from undertaking research. The focus is on improving the health of the people of Wessex and the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Through increasing engagement of stakeholders, Wessex CLAHRC aims to bring about a stepped change in integration of pathways of care for people with long-term conditions and reducing hospital admissions through more appropriate use of health care. The complexity theme focuses on improving the experience of patients, families and professionals by looking at ways of minimising complexity and maximising improvement in experience of for those affected by long term, life-limiting conditions.

Understanding and perceptions of mindfulness-based interventions and development of an adapted mindfulness intervention for breast cancer patients

Living with breast cancer can cause considerable suffering, and for many the fear of recurrence of the cancer can cause anxiety and depression that can last for a long time after the initial diagnosis.  Mindfulness-based meditation can be helpful and involves learning a set of techniques that enable people to focus or live in the moment.  The standard mindfulness course consists of 1 session a week for 8 weeks lasting between 1½ - 2½ hours, with an additional one day 6 hour retreat, with 45 minutes homework per day.  This can be difficult for breast cancer patients to commit to if they are working, have children and if they are undergoing treatment.  In this study we plan to find out from patients how we can adapt the course to suit them, and then design and develop it in partnership with patients and leading experts in the field of mindfulness.

Patients’ experiences of care and the influence of staff motivation, affect and well-being

In this study we aim to explore and understand the links between patients' experiences of care, staff motivation, affect and well-being.

An investigation about transferring patients in critical care home to die: experiences, attitudes, population characteristics and practices

Progress has been made towards the policy imperative of enabling patients to die in their preferred place of care. However, there has been to consideration of how this might apply in the context of those dying in critical care environments, including what those preferences might be, and practices to enable such preferences to be met.

Understanding the quality of life and psychosocial needs of patients with cancer of known and unknown primary: pre-testing and feasibility study

This study is an international collaboration with Australian colleagues at Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. This study is testing the feasibility of a prospective, longitudinal matched control study to compare outcomes for patients with Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) and patients with metastatic cancer with known primary.


Book Chapters

    Ramirez, A., Jamieson, L., Teasdale, E., & Richardson, A. (2009). The stress of professional caregivers. In G. Hanks, N. I. Cherney, N. A. Christakis, M. Fallon, S. Kaasa, & R. K. Portenoy (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. 4th Edition Edinburgh, UK: Oxford University Press (Churchill Livingstone).
    Richardson, A. (2004). A critical appraisal of the factors associated with fatigue. In J. Armes, M. Krishnasamy, & I. Higginson (Eds.), Fatigue in Cancer (pp. 29-50). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Richardson, A., Di Giulio, P., & Waddell, D. (2000). Nursing research in cancer care. In N. Kearney, A. Richardson, & P. Di Giulio (Eds.), Cancer Nursing Practice: A Textbook for the Specialist Nurse (pp. 107-134). Edinburgh, UK: Elsevier Harcourt Brace.
    Richardson, A. (1997). Cancer pain and its management. In V. N. Thomas (Ed.), Pain: Its Nature and Management (pp. 194-219). London, UK: Elsevier Balliere Tindall.
    Richardson, A. (1995). The pattern of fatigue in patients receiving chemotherapy. In A. Richardson, & J. Wilson-Barnett (Eds.), Nursing Research in Cancer Care (pp. 225-245). London, UK: Scutari Press.



Working Paper

Nurse-led symptom care in cancer, palliative and end of life care
Organisation and management of cancer nursing services
Inform strategic development of cancer, palliative and end of life care education provision
Teaching and research supervision MRes, MSc and Doctoral training programmes

Professor Alison Richardson
Southampton General Hospital Mailpoint 11 Tremona Road Southampton SO16 6YD Room No. SAB/AA101 Tel: 02380798494 OR University of Southampton Faculty of Health Sciences Building 67 Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number:SGH/AA102/MP11

Telephone:(023) 8120 8494

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