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The RCN Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum committee

Forum Chair- Isobel Mason MSc, MCGI, RGN

Nurse Consultant in Gastroenterology
Royal Free Hospital, London

The department I work in is proud of its nursing services which involve 13 nurse specialists and practitioners working as part of the multidisciplinary team in all areas of gastroenterology and nutrition nursing. I lead the service, supporting and developing nurses and making strategic decisions about improving and advancing nursing practice.

My clinical role previously included a busy inflammatory bowel disease nursing service, which is now run day-to-day by two other nurse specialists. I also run clinics for patients with dyspepsia, coeliac disease, iron deficiency anaemia and a family history of colorectal cancer.

I have been chair of the Crohn’s and Colitis special interest group until January 2009 and in this role represented the RCN in the development of the Quality Care Standards for IBD care. I am now leading the working group developing the national IBD nursing audit which ran for the first time in May 2011.I became chair of the RCN Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum in May 2011.

Irene Dunkley MSc, BSc, RGN

Nurse Consultant in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy
Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust

My main areas of specialist practice are caring for people with inflammatory bowel disease and as a nurse endoscopist undertaking colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy procedures. I am audit lead for our Endoscopy department. I have been working as a nurse specialist since 1996 and have seen many changes in how our roles have developed and impacted on the changes to patient care.  People have difficulty understanding the diversity of our roles and areas of expertise. However this diversity I believe is to be welcomed as long as it is underpinned with knowledge, skills and expertise in delivering appropriate and timely patient care. I remain committed to improving patient access to services where they are needed and improving service delivery to meet the changing needs of patients. 

Politics has a great influence on health care. Understanding and influencing the political agenda is critical in how we respond to the demands made on our profession that impact on how we care for our patients. I believe in quality patient care, if we compromise on standards we will fail in the delivery of our patient services. I have worked as a committee member for the Endoscopy Associates Group of the British Society of Gastroenterology and as part of the Education committee of the European Society of Gastroenterology and endoscopy Associates. I believe we need to influence the way we work through nursing organisations by supporting nurse development. 

The RCN provides a platform for the Gastrointestinal Forum to demonstrate the value of nursing staff working in this diverse area, the more engaged with forum members we are the stronger our voice becomes. We need to work together to re-establish our working partnerships to ensure we are all being heard and understood.

Karen Kemp MPhil, BSc (Hons), RGN

Lecturer (Research and Long Term Conditions) / Specialist Nurse in Gastroenterology
University of Manchester and Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester

I am currently a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Doctorate Clinical Academic Fellow, and I am halfway through studying for a PhD in follow-up care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). As a lecturer in research and long term conditions) and a specialist nurse in gastroenterology, I hold a joint appointment between the University of Manchester and Manchester Royal Infirmary, where I am one of three gastroenterology nurse specialists. My main clinical role remains in IBD and I have a particular interest in managing patients on biologic therapy.

Professionally, I sit on the Gastrointestinal Forum within the RCN and this feeds directly into the RCN IBD Network. I am one of two UK representatives for the Nurses European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (NECCO) and involved in a variety of national initiatives. I am one of the nurse representatives at the National UK IBD Audit Steering Group and the new biologics register. I am also involved in the UK IBD nursing audit and represent nurses on the Primary Care Gastroenterology Society committee.

Liz Farrington MSc, BSc (Hons), RN

Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Hepatology
Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro

I qualified in 1995 with a BSc in Nursing Studies and went on to work in a variety of hospitals around the UK, predominantly in GI surgery. I developed a specific interest in hepatology while working in New Zealand and on moving to Cornwall in 2002 started working with viral hepatitis patients as a specialist nurse.

In 2003 I commenced an MSc in Advanced Healthcare Practice, inclusive of the RCN-accredited Nurse Practitioner Course. This has allowed me to develop my practice and work autonomously, seeing patients with a variety of hepatology conditions, many of whom are undiagnosed. I am a non-medical prescriber and an independent referrer for radiological and endoscopic procedures. In addition since 2004 I have been fully trained in the performance of ultrasound guided percutaneous liver biopsy.

I have a passion for advanced nursing practice and the liver disease population in general, with my particular clinical interest being auto-immune liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. I look forward to proactively supporting members of the RCN Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum.

Jennie Burch MSc, BSc, RN

Enhanced recovery nurse facilitator
St Mark’s Hospital, part of the North West London NHS Trust

I am currently the enhanced recovery facilitator at St Mark’s Hospital, which is part of the North West London Hospitals NHS Trust. Prior to this I worked at St Mark’s for more than 10 years as a research nurse and a stoma specialist nurse. My current job involves a variety of roles including training, auditing, research and direct patient care. I enjoy teaching and have taught nationally and internationally. I completed a Masters in Gastrointestinal Nursing at King’s College University in 2010.

I enjoy writing and have edited a book entitled ‘Stoma Care’ published in 2008 and written book chapters in the ‘Oxford Handbook of Gastrointestinal Nursing’, also published in 2008, and ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nursing’ published in 2011. I have also written articles for nursing journals on a variety of topics including stoma care and enhanced recovery.  I joined the RCN Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum committee in 2011 and my role will be to update and maintain the forum website.

Lynda Greenslade MSc, RN

Clinical Nurse Specialist in Hepatology
Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, London

I have worked with liver patients for more than 20 years and in different roles such as a ward manager, research nurse and my current role within the liver unit. Currently I manage a cohort of patients with diuretic resistant ascites requiring paracentesis, haemochromatosis and a nurse led clinic facilitating early discharge. In this clinic I see newly discharged patients who need close follow up sometimes more than once a week with conditions such as Khat induced auto-immune hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis and patients with chronic liver disease managing their steroids, ascites and nutrition. Becoming a non-medical prescriber has allowed my role to develop and become more proactive about compliance with medications. I am also involved in ward teaching to support and develop the nurses working on the liver unit as well as teaching on the liver course run at King’s College, London.

As a committee member of the British Liver Nurses Forum, I have been fortunate to be involved in the Department of Health’s scoping of the current extent of liver disease in England, which remains ongoing. I chair the clinical nurse specialists group at the Royal Free and have recently been appointed as a member of the RCN Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum where I intend to raise the profile of liver nursing and the challenges that face us not just with the rise of liver disease but the challenges of policy and economic changes in the NHS. I see the future for nursing staff working with liver patients as challenging but exciting as there is scope to extend and develop new roles to work with this challenging group of patients

Michelle Clayton MSc, PGC (Clin Ed), BSc (Hons), RGN

Lecturer in Liver Care, University of Leeds
Liver Recipient Transplant Co-ordinator,  St James’s University Hospital, Leeds

My interest in hepatology and transplantation started in 1991 when I undertook the ENB A09 course at King's College Hospital, London, where I later worked as a staff nurse. I moved to the liver unit in Leeds in 1993. I became a lecturer and practitioner in liver care in January 2002, having previously been involved in professional development of staff for a number of years. I became a full time lecturer at the University of Leeds in January 2006 where I run a number of modules focussing on liver care and transplantation. In October 2009 I reverted to part time lecturer so I could take up a Liver Transplant Recipient Co-ordinators post at St James’s in Leeds.

I am an active committee member of the British Liver Nurses Forum, promoting the profile of liver nursing. I am also an active speaker both national and internationally and enjoy publishing on many aspects of liver disease and liver transplantation, I have recently been appointed to the editorial board of Frontline Gastroenterology. In May 2010 I was appointed as Chair of the Specialist Nurses group for the National Liver Disease Strategy, Department of Health, and have been leading the development of a competence framework for liver nurses. I have recently been appointed to the RCN Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum, where I will be championing the role of liver nurses and their integral role in enhancing care of liver patients.