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Royal College of Nursing Representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice, shaping health policies

Meet the Team

Louise Parker

Forum Chair
Nursing Lead, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Louise works at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and has held nursing and research related posts in the department of rheumatology and connective tissue disease since 2005.

Louise has been the overarching nursing lead for the rheumatology service since 2009. Her area of expertise is in the field of connective tissue disease where she runs a number of independent and cross-speciality clinics. She is an independent nurse prescriber.

Louise co-ordinates a national advice line for patients with scleroderma and liaises with a number of other hospitals which link with the Royal Free National outreach programme.

Appointed as forum chair in 2016, Louise is an active member of the forum. She has also recently been appointed as nurse advisor to the Arthritis Research UK USER committee and she advises on a number of other local, national and international committees.

Email Louise

Polly Livermore

National Institute Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow April 2017- March 2020, Great Ormond Street Hospital

Since qualifying in 1997, Polly has spent nearly nineteen years working in the specialty of paediatric rheumatology. She began as a staff nurse on the Rheumatology ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), before working sequentially as a senior staff nurse, clinical research nurse, nurse practitioner, advanced nurse practitioner and clinical nurse manager.

Polly has currently been seconded out of her most recent matron role at GOSH for after being awarded one of four Nursing NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowships in the UK in 2017. Polly's PhD subject area is the psychosocial needs and lived experience of children and young people with juvenile dermatomyositis.

Polly was the lead paediatric author on the RCN methotrexate guidelines in 2004, the 2nd edition in 2013 and the 3rd edition in 2016. She has been involved in writing policies regarding biological therapies, attended expert meetings at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), attended meetings at the Houses of Parliament, been constantly proactive in the paediatric rheumatology nursing group and has lectured nationally and internationally. Her specialist areas of interests are paediatrics, methotrexate, biological therapies and juvenile dermatomyositis.

Helen Smith

Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust

Helen has been a nurse for over 30 years and has worked in a variety of specialities. She trained at Central Middlesex Hospital in London and worked in general medicine, including cardiac, CCU, and general surgery.

She then spent time travelling before nursing overseas in a urology ward. During this time she completed her BA in health service management and a clinical tutor course. On returning to England she worked on an elderly care rehabilitation ward and a surgical ward, before becoming a clinical site manager.

Helen has been in her current role for almost ten years. During this time she completed her MDipCert advanced nurse practitioner and is currently studying an injection therapy module to undertake joint and soft tissue injections. Her key areas of practice are running nurse-led biologic and arthritis clinics.

Tricia Cornell

Rheumatology Nurse Consultant, Abbvie

Tricia has recently moved posts and is now rheumatology nurse consultant for Abbive, although she continues to maintain her clinical expertise as honorary senior rheumatology practitioner at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where she developed the practitioner-led rheumatology service.

Tricia's particular interests in rheumatology are inflammatory arthritis, the use of ultrasound, patient education, ankylosing spondylitis and telephone advice lines. She has won several awards for the department, including the ARUK Silver Medal for Nursing 2012.

Tricia has previously been a council member of the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology, the RCN Rheumatology Forum and EuLAR scientific committees. She also helped develop various publications, including telephone advice lines for people with long term conditions, subcutaneous methotrexate and assessment of patients for biologic therapies. She has further links with American Allied Health Professionals in Rheumatology and has stood on various committees for this organisation.

Lisa Howie

Rheumatology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Morriston Hospital

Lisa qualified as a RGN in 1984 in Swansea and has worked in the area of musculoskeletal care for most of her nursing career. She spent six years working in an orthopaedic and trauma unit before becoming a clinical nurse specialist in 1992. Since then she has obtained her BN, MSc in rheumatology nursing in addition to an independent NMP qualification.

Lisa is currently in her second term of office as a member of the forum having been reappointed in 2015. During her first term of office she was involved with NICE appraisals and forum conferences, in addition to being the lead author for the forum publications on administering subcutaneous methotrexate and monitoring biologic therapies.

Even though she has worked in the field of rheumatology for many years, Lisa remains passionate about the speciality which she finds challenging, exciting and rewarding, especially since the introduction of biologic therapies, which for many patients have proved to be life-changing. She runs independent methotrexate, biologics and therapy-led clinics as well as a local advice line for patient and other health care professionals.

With the development and use of new technology, Lisa hopes to make the forum more accessible to members, help facilitate two-way communication and improve collaborative working between the RCN and its members.



Julie Begum

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust

Julie qualified in 2002 and worked in elderly care, acute medicine and emergency care before taking up a sister’s post on a general medical ward. She began her career in Rheumatology as a clinical nurse specialist in 2008 and took an interest in patients with early inflammatory arthritis. She has been part of the team that has developed the early inflammatory arthritis pathway within the department to ensure patients get access to treatment and follow up care appropriately. She led the team in the recent HQIP national audit on inflammatory arthritis which has seen the Luton and Dunstable Hospital recognised by BSR as a best practice site.

Julie successfully set up regular patient and public information events for rheumatology that were recognised in a local awards ceremony in 2010 for "improving lives". She undertook and obtained her independent nurse prescribing qualification in 2015, took up her lead nurse post in rheumatology in late 2016, and looks forward to teaching at the University of Bedfordshire on the pre-registration nursing course on long-term conditions in March 2017.

Her passion in the last few years has been the education of new rheumatology nurses. She has developed her own brand of rheumatology educational sessions regionally entitled "Learning Rheum" focussing on core skills for rheumatology nurses. She hopes to continue working on this project and to go on to develop resources and on-line training to support new learners in Rheumatology. Her other interests include health promotion and psoriatic arthritis.


Professional Lead: Dawne Garrett

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Page last updated - 04/06/2019