|Nicholas Glubb, Southern Cancer Network manager
Next month will mark 40 years working in health for Nicholas Glubb, who began his career as a student psychiatric nurse at Cherry Farm Hospital in March, 1978.
Based in Dunedin, the role eventually led to helping manage change in a number of mental health and disability services around the country.
Nicholas joined the South Island Alliance as Southern Cancer Network (SCN) manager in August last year. His experience in the sector makes him a great fit for the role. “I had a predominantly clinical career until the early ’90s,” he says.
“After moving into nursing clinical leadership positions, opportunities arose for me in operational and service development roles, where I was involved in the reorganisations of mental health/disability services – one of those led to the closure of Cherry Farm Hospital and people with long term mental health conditions living more normal lives at home with community-based care.”
He says experience in direct patient care in the clinical years of his career stood him in good stead for management roles, “in particular around understanding what can make a difference to people’s health and wellbeing. And that’s the hook into SCN – which is all about better outcomes for people who experience cancer and supporting clinicians to ensure that the detection, diagnosis and recovery is both timely and effective – as well as a better understanding of the patients and their family’s experience.”
In 2003, Nicholas moved to Palmerston North to take up a mental health and disability management role, which included management responsibility for the closure of the Kimberley Centre – New Zealand’s last big institution for people with an intellectual disability. This was followed by picking up management roles outside of mental health, including women’s and child health.
His entry into cancer services began in 2009, managing regional cancer treatment services for the MidCentral DHB, providing non-surgical cancer treatment across six DHBs in the North Island. “During this time I developed an understanding of what was involved in leading and managing non-surgical cancer services. And my involvement with the Central Cancer Network (CCN) culminated with me getting involved with the leadership of its governance group, working alongside the CCN manager over improvement work.”
When the chance to work for the South Island Alliance came up, he says it was an opportunity to have a more dedicated focus on improving cancer services – as well as move home. “I have four brothers and a sister living here in Christchurch, as well as extended family, so it’s been fantastic living close to them again.” A good portion of Nicholas’ spare time is spent maintaining the reasonably-sized, well-established garden at home with his partner, Yhodie, who is a graphic designer and gym instructor.
Nicholas works alongside project managers to ensure progress is being made on established priorities from the regional Health Services Plan, as well as building relationships with key stakeholders across the South Island. “I’m really fortunate to have a team of four very capable project managers with complementary sets of knowledge, skills and experience, along with the network clinical director, Dr Shaun Costello, who is both supportive and action oriented.
“Another key part of my role is understanding what’s important for clinicians working in cancer services, because a lot of our improvement work is focused on ensuring they are set up for success in relation to what they do. This relates to infrastructure and systems, and ways of working together regionally – in terms of consistent, evidence-based approaches to cancer treatment and care.”