This week, I’m delighted to be joined by Sue Spencer, an educator, researcher and former university lecturer with a wealth of experience in both nursing and the third sector.

She and I first met when she was a diabetes nurse specialist in the Northeast of England in the early 1990s.

I was keen to invite Sue onto the podcast because she was the first person to introduce me to the idea of treating patients as partners in managing long term conditions, instead of passive recipients of care.

You’ll hear how that idea has developed over the years, and how her experience in diabetes has shaped her thinking. 

Her firm belief that it’s a privilege to work with patients has sometimes led to conflict with colleagues who found it hard to change established practice, but it’s also led to excellent working relationships based on shared values and an ambition to provide high quality patient-centred care. 

Over the course of her career and research, Sue became increasingly interested in the role of emotional intelligence in managing long term conditions, particularly thinking about the emotional baggage brought into the clinical encounter. As her interest in creativity and poetry grew, she increasingly appreciated the importance of listening to patients’ stories to understand what was important to them as individuals. 

Drawing on her considerable experience, Sue’s episode provides valuable insights on the details that matter in the relationship between patients with long term conditions and the healthcare teams that look after them.

Happily, she also shares her views on how to get patient engagement right – through clarity of purpose and deep listening. 

I hope you enjoy the episode as much as I enjoyed talking to Sue.

Contact me with any questions or comments about the podcast.  I’d love to hear from you!