Professor Sanchia Aranda

Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Council Australia

Professor Sanchia Aranda was appointed CEO of Cancer Council Australia in August 2015.

Professor Aranda has more than 30 years’ experience in cancer control as a clinician, researcher, educator and senior healthcare administrator.

From her early career as a Registered Nurse in New Zealand she specialised in cancer and palliative care, completing a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Master of Nursing and a doctoral thesis exploring nurse-patient relationships in cancer and palliative care. Her most recent role was Director of Cancer Services and Information and Deputy CEO at the Cancer Institute NSW.

Professor Aranda is President-elect of the Union for International Cancer Control (the world’s peak member-based cancer organisation) and a former President of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care.

As well as being a research fellow at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, she holds academic appointments within the School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, and the Faculty of Nursing, University of Sydney.

From a digital technology perspective in her research work Professor Aranda has led studies utilising web and application based programs for support of patients, most recently a randomised trial of a remote symptom assessment system with real time health system connectivity. In her previous role at the Cancer Institute NSW she oversaw the development of technology initiatives in cancer registries including automation of data extracts from clinical information systems into the Central Cancer Registry in NSW. She has also been involved in initiatives to routinely collect patient reported outcomes into clinical information systems. In her CINSW role she established clinical data governance functions and ethical approvals for linked datasets.

In August 2015 she took up the role of CEO of Australia’s peak non-government cancer control organisation. In this role she is a strong independent voice on evidence-based cancer control. She is engaged in all fields of cancer from primary prevention through to survivorship and advanced care, and has a particular professional interest in improved ways to care for and support cancer patients and enhanced use of administrative datasets to understand clinical variation and to improve our cancer system.

She is a regular commentator on cancer issues in Australia media.

Professor Aranda’s role in cancer control has been recognised nationally and internationally, and in 2013 she was named the 4th Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Distinguished Fellow for her contributions to cancer nursing. In 2016 she received the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care’s Distinguish Merit Award for her contributions to cancer nursing.


5 minutes with Professor Sanchia Aranda

Please provide a brief description of the topic that you will be presenting at the Nursing and Midwifery Leadership Conference 2017

Why we must break the silence on the contribution of nurses to healthcare!

Nurses constitute around 50% of the global health workforce. Despite this dominance, nurses contribution to healthcare and patient outcomes is poorly understood by the public and policy makers and is thus undervalued and under recognised. Part of the problem lies in the silence around our work, a silence contributed to by a range of factors including nurses own paucity of language when it comes to describing what they contribute. The problem is compounded by nursing’s history as a vocation, often rooted in mission and service leading to our work being seen as innate rather than skilled. The dominance of caring as the central narrative of nursing, while fundamental to our work with patients, reinforces this perception. We are left behind on the policy agenda with our work in healthcare largely shaped by dominant paradigms led by medicine. This paper will explore this topic and argue that nurses must learn to speak about their work in different ways, to demand a seat at the table of health care decision making and create new narratives to describe their work if they are to deliver on their potential influence on the health outcomes of future generations.

Why should your presentation not be missed?

There is a tendency in nursing to be both complacent about this topic and complicit in the under valuing of nurses’ contribution. We all need to throw off our passivity and become active masters of our own destiny. While I believe nurses are capable of changing the world, we are far from this being a reality.

What do you think are the most exciting recent developments in the field of nursing and midwifery?

A shift to focus on outcomes rather than processes of patient care, a greater involvement of research in practice and the emergence of advanced practice roles.

How does attending events like the Nursing and Midwifery Leadership Conference 2017 inform or relate to your current practice?

Conferences such as this have only marginal relevance to my current role which is not in nursing. It does however keep me abreast with trends in nursing scholarship and allows me to continue to stand up for nursing in a range of roles.

What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

Engaging with nursing colleagues and learning about new developments in the field.

What else are you looking forward to about your trip to Perth?

Seeing my husband’s family and celebrating an early Christmas with them.

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