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Sheffield Children’s Director of Nursing retires

sally shearer in green and pink dress cutting cake
30 August 2022

Sheffield Children’s has bid a fond farewell to Professor Sally Shearer OBE, its Director of Nursing and Quality, who has retired after 42 years’ service to the NHS that has taken her from ward to Board.

row of four people in a line for photo -  left to right, female blonde hair in navy suit, blonde hair and green and pink  dress, lord lieutenant Hilary wearing miltary like attire, man in navy suit

Dame Ruth May, Professor Sally Shearer, Lord-Lieutenant Dame Hilary, Professor Mark Radford

It was a tribute to Professor Shearer’s standing in the nursing profession – not just locally and regionally, but nationally – that her retirement celebration last week (25 August) was attended by Dame Hilary Chapman, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, who is herself a former Chief Nurse, Dame Ruth May, England’s Chief Nursing Officer and Professor Mark Radford, Deputy Chief Nurse of England and Chief Nurse at Health Education England.

Paying tribute Dame Hilary said: “Sally is a recognised and hugely respected leader in her field, who has constantly advocated for children and their families. She inspires confidence, tackles the difficult if it’s the right thing to do, and is the ultimate professional, exuding warmth, kindness, humour and quiet confidence. Paediatrics and children’s health have been lucky to have her.”

Professor Radford said: “Sally brings her full self to work, takes her leadership very seriously and has a commitment to developing people. The NHS is better and the nursing profession is better because she has worked with us.”

Dame Ruth added: “Thank you from every nurse in this country – paediatric or otherwise – for your leadership.”

In her own speech Sally said: “My work has taken me all over the world but the happiest seven years have been at Sheffield Children’s. I’m proud to have been part of great change at Sheffield Children’s, including increased nursing workforce, our improved estate, our digital innovation and our innovation during COVID – and I have been privileged to work with such talented, compassionate, innovative and committed people.”

Sally joined Sheffield Children’s as Director of Nursing and Quality in October 2015, having previously managed children and young people’s acute and community services in London and Nottingham.

She has been the professional lead for the nurses, health visitors and allied health professionals that work across Sheffield Children’s and she became Acting Deputy Chief Executive in February 2021.

But Sally’s influence spreads far beyond Sheffield Children’s. At a national level, through her role as Chair of the Association of Chief Children’s Nurses (ACCN), between 2019 and 2022; her membership of the Children’s Alliance (the collaboration of children’s hospitals across the country); and the Visiting Professorship at Sheffield Hallam University she was awarded in 2020.

She was awarded a CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) Gold Award in January 2019, which was presented to her by Prof Radford, and an OBE for services to nursing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020, recognising her work in providing strong leadership and a voice for nurses.

brunette woman wearing white and black spotty dress with blonde woman wearing green and pink dress

Ruth Brown and Sally Shearer

Ruth Brown, Chief Executive of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Sally’s leadership over the past two and a half years has been invaluable in helping us steer through a pandemic that has challenged everyone personally, as well as our Trust and the NHS like never before.

“On behalf of everyone at the Trust I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sally – for her hard work, her dedication to Sheffield Children’s over the last seven years,  NHS service over the last 42 years and for everything she has done for our children and young people.

“Under Sally’s profession leadership we have flourished and we have been honoured to have someone with such a respected national profile here at Sheffield Children’s.”

While Professor Shearer is retiring from Sheffield Children’s, she’s not stepping back from the nursing profession completely. She was recently appointed as a panellist on the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, to serve November 2025.

Yvonne Millard MBE, currently Deputy Chief Nurse at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust will replace Professor Shearer as Chief Nurse at Sheffield Children’s.  Claire Harness, current deputy director of nursing will be interim Chief Nurse until Yvonne commences post on 19 September.

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