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CYP children's nursing

Christine Desmond

Name: Christine Desmond

Job title: Advanced Nurse Practitioner - Paediatric Endocrinology

Speciality: Paediatric Endocrinology

Organisation: Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading

What is your current role?

I am currently an Advanced Nurse Practitioner for paediatric endocrinology services at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

What was your route to this role?

I began my general nursing career at the Westminster hospital in 1991 consolidating my training on the paediatric ward at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital which I really enjoyed. In 1996, I began work at the Middlesex hospital where I completed a Diploma in Children's Nursing and Bsc in Professional Nursing. It was here that I first began working with patients with endocrine disorders. I was immediately drawn to the management of this complex group of patients and the variety of specialist care and dynamic testing they required. 

What prompted you to do this role?

It was whilst working at the Middlesex hospital in 1996, where I managed the Adolescent Daycare Unit organising various endocrine tests on a daily basis that my interest in endocrinology began. I loved the structure and fast pace of the dynamic function tests and was intrigued by the physiology and the diagnostic reasoning process used to identify a treatment plan for endocrine patients. I successfully began my career working with children and young people (CYP) with endocrine disorders as a clinical nurse specialist at St Georges Hospital, London. Throughout my nursing career, I continued working as a clinical nurse specialist in this area at Cork University Hospital, Ireland and now currently at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.

What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?

  • Registered General Nurse
  • Diploma in Children's Nursing
  • Bsc Professional Nursing
  • Endocrine Module
  • Non-Medical Prescribing Certificate
  • History taking and Assessment 
  • Leadership
  • Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Applied Research.

How do you see yourself developing your skills?

I am currently completing the final dissertation module of the Msc Advanced Clinical Practice. This qualification continues to support the advancement and development of my skills in the assessment and management of this complex group of patients. I am also an active member of the CYP specialist forum which has allowed me an opportunity to be involved in updating national guidelines and policies.

What is your long-term career plan?

I want to continue to support and be an advocate for CYP with endocrine disorders. On completion of my Msc, my plan is to set up a nurse led new patient clinic. I currently manage follow up patients both face to face and virtually but would like to advance this further by assessing new patients referred to the clinic.

What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in your area of practice?

It's really important to find a specialty that interests and challenges you, for me this was endocrinology. I have been very lucky to have gained a lot of clinical experience and knowledge throughout my career working alongside some very supportive and inspiring healthcare professionals which I feel was crucial to my success as a specialist nurse.

What do you most enjoy about this area of care?

There is always something new to learn within this specialty which I love. The challenges and learning opportunities the role offers, the remarkable children and young people I continue to meet along the way means I still enjoy my job even after 30 years of nursing.

CYP case studies

Children and young people: career stories and case studies