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Cheryl Haswell is Matron of the Dilke Memorial and Lydney & District Hospital. Cheryl has been in post since July 2016, and she is not new to the Forest of Dean. 

“I grew up in the Forest and went to school here in Bream and Lydney. As a child I spent a lot of time playing outdoors and did lots of walking too. I left when I was 17 to do my nurse training in Wales, and live in Gloucester now, but I still visit family and friends here – there are many good pubs for a nice Sunday lunch!”

Cheryl knew she wanted to be a nurse when she was a teenager, and did a pre-nursing qualification course at what was then the West Gloucestershire College of Further Education. She was encouraged to pursue nursing, and has since worked in mental health, trauma and orthopaedics in Gloucestershire. Before working in the Forest, Cheryl was Matron for Infection Prevention & Control at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals for eight years – and is used to overseeing two different sites. “You just need to make sure your time is evenly spread, but that you are flexible on where you will be based each day. I like to do matron walkabouts in the hospitals, which includes checking on the wellbeing of our patients and getting feedback from them and also from our fantastic staff.”

This is Cheryl’s first role in a community hospital, and she enjoys the contact with a variety of other healthcare professions. “I have the opportunity to work alongside therapists, social workers, radiologists, administrators and the f Friends of the hospitals, who do wonderful work fundraising for us. It’s so varied, that’s what I really like – no day is the same!”

Cheryl is passionate about supporting new nurses, and believes that community hospitals are a great learning environment. “We have compassionate and caring staff here who support new recruits, those who want to develop and those who want to return to nursing. My advice to new nurses is make use of all learning opportunities during placements, be prepared to work hard and try as many specialities of nursing as possible. Never be afraid to move sideways and consider a first post in a Community Hospital to develop your confidence”

Cheryl has had many memorable moments as a nurse, but there is one that will stay with her for a long time “I was appointed to my first Senior Sister role on one of the wards at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital by Jane Cummings, who is now the Chief Nursing Officer for England. It was something I had to been working towards for a long time, and from there I went on to be matron in that specialism. It just showed to me that hard work does pay off!” 

Outside of work, Cheryl likes to watch her sons play football for Tuffley Rovers and West Bromwich Albion Development, as well as visiting her husband’s hometown of Portsmouth. She also enjoys trips to the theatre and is a keen traveller: “I would love to see more of India, and I want to visit Vietnam soon too”