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

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Meet the Team

Katherine Gale

Katherine Gale

Forum Chair

 

What is your current role?
Nurse Consultant in women's health - Researching the "Working lives of menopausal women in the NHS' 

 

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
After nearly three decades working clinically in women's health, I have recently returned to research. My aim is to contribute to the evidence on the impact of the menopause on women's experience of working in healthcare.  This opportunity came from a love of raising awareness of the impact of women's health conditions in the workplace setting. As a certified coach and trainer, I also provide coaching and training for female leaders working in healthcare.

 

What was your best career move?

The best career move was moving into an advanced practice role early on in my career which enabled me to provide all aspects of care from point of referral to discharge.  Also taking every opportunity to gain new clinical skills to ensure I could optimise the patient experience.

 

What inspires and motivates you?

There is still a huge amount of work to do in educating, motivating and empowering nurses to improve the timely diagnosis of menopause, endometriosis and heavy menstrual bleeding.  I am keen to ensure all nurses have access to up to date patient information and treatment options to enable women to access the care they need and deserve.

 

What prompted you to join the Women's Health Forum committee?

I am absolutely delighted to be on the committee for Women's Health and I am passionate about promoting good practice and sharing innovations from across the sectors.  Being on the committee in a room of keen and like-minded nurses makes you believe anything is possible.

 
If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?

I would want to make the NHS the best employer with a focus not just on wellbeing but the health of its staff.  Particularly with the majority of staff being female.  I would love to see staff able to have prioritised access to healthcare and support to enable them to continue caring for others.  We need to tackle the stress and burnout amongst NHS staff.

 

What book should every nurse read?

There were two books that have influenced my career; the first being Nurse Led Clinics by Richard Hatchett and the second Gynaecology: changing services for changing needs by Sue Jolly.

 

What would you still like to achieve in your career?

I would love to do a TED talk.  I would like to see an end to the shame, stigma and taboo's around the female body.  I also take any opportunity to make an impact and raising awareness to stamp out the stigma around menstruation, miscarriage and menopause.

 

Where would we find you when you are not working in women's health?
If I'm not working you'd find me outside walking amongst the trees.  I feel so replenished when connected to nature and the beauty in the wild countryside constantly delights me.

Charlotte Deakin

Charlotte Deakin

Charlotte works for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which provides abortion care.

Previously, she has worked within the NHS as a Sexual Health Clinical Specialist Nurse. Charlotte is an implant and coil fitter.

Her areas of interest include safeguarding, abortion provision, STIs and contraception, and the provision of care and services to vulnerable people and diverse communities.

Debra Holloway, FRCN

What is your current role?
Nurse Consultant Gynaecology

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Patient contact, my own clinics, hysteroscopy and menopause.

What was your best career move?
Nurse consultant role.

What inspires and motivates you?
Improving women's health specifically menstruation issues.

What prompted you to join the Women's Health Forum Committee?
Co-opted onto a project a long time ago, really enjoyed the working group and then joined a sub group and then encouraged to join the steering group.

If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?
Free prescriptions for women with POI.

What book should every nurse read?
Women's health nursing Oxford Handbook by myself.

What would you still like to achieve in your career?
Development of a trainee nurse consultant.

Where would we find you when you are not working in women's health?
Walking in London or Devon, eating out.

Deb Panes

Deborah Panes

What is your current role?
Endometriosis Nurse Practitioner at University Hospitals Bristol & Weston. 

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
The difference I can make to a patient’s life. The simplest of activities such as taking the time to sit and listen to a patient’s story can make them feel valued and understood. Their gratitude is what keeps me going to work.

What was your best career move?
When I qualified, I intended to work for a year in gynaecology and then do my midwifery training. I liked gynaecology so much I never left and am still in the same department 20 years later!

What inspires and motivates you?
My children. They constantly ask questions and challenge why we do something in a certain way. They remind me to always observe what is going on around me, to be interested and to seek answers.

What prompted you to join the Women's Health Forum committee?
As a Specialist Nurse my work is very focused on one condition. Joining the forum will help to broaden my knowledge of women’s health and challenge me. I want to be able to promote the amazing work that women’s health nurses do and contribute to improved standards of care.

If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?
Make the NHS a more efficient organisation. I see evidence every day of us doing things in a way that waste time and money. We are very under resourced and their needs to be improved methods of working in place.

What book should every nurse read?
The Oxford handbook Of…….
These handbooks are available in a range of specialties and allow you to access information about conditions quickly and succinctly. Perfect for when you just need a quick answer.

What would you still like to achieve in your career?
To do voluntary health promotion work with young people.

Where would we find you when you are not working in women’s health?
Juggling family, career, and home life whilst always trying to squeeze in time for a run and baking a cake.

Ellie Stewart

Ellie Stewart

What is your current role?
Gynaecology Matron and Clinical Nurse Specialist in Urogynaecology 

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Working with women who have often put up with their symptoms for many years thinking there is no treatment, or have been too afraid to seek help and seeing their symptoms and their quality of life improve.

What was your best career move?
Doing my nurse prescribing qualification which has allowed me to have more autonomy when treating my patients.

What inspires and motivates you?
Working with senior colleagues with more experience- aspiring to be like them.

What prompted you to join the Women's Health Forum committee?
To be involved in working with other nurses to help influence women’s health nursing.

If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?
To reinstate the nursing bursary- I feel stopping this has been a key factor in the reduction of student nurse applications, which will have a significant impact on an already understaffed NHS in the future.

What would you still like to achieve in your career?
I would like to become a nurse cystoscopist and at some point, work with women with vesico-vaginal fistulas in Africa.

Where would we find you when you are not working in women’s health?
On the dance floor (I do ballroom and Latin dancing!!!) or spending time with my two daughters.

Jane Denton

Jane Denton

Jane’s background is nursing and midwifery with a specialist interest in infertility and genetics. Jane led the development of the nursing team in one of the first IVF programmes in the UK. As the implications of multiple births arising from infertility treatments began to emerge in the late 1980s, she moved to the Multiple Births Foundation  to address the problems and became Director in 1998. She has written and lectured extensively on all aspects of multiple births and has contributed to substantial change in public and professional attitudes towards them. She us a founder and co – lead of the Eliizabeth Bryan Multiple Births Centre. 

Jane was sub-editor for nursing, counselling and ethics for ‘Human Fertility’, the official journal of the British Fertility Society (BFS) from 1998 until 2020. 

A former member and deputy chair of the HFEA Authority and a founder member of the Royal College of Nursing Fertility Nursing Forum, Jane has wide experience of the clinical, scientific and ethical challenges presented by the advances in reproductive technologies.  

Jane was made a Fellow of the RCN in 2006, an Honorary Fellow of the BFS in 2008 was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007 for services to nursing and healthcare. She was President of the BFS from 2018 to 2021. 

Katherine Christopher

Katharine Christopher

What is your current role?
Clinical Nurse Specialist in Endometriosis 

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I love when patient’s realise that I understand, you can see people almost breathe a sigh of relief when they realise they don’t have to put up a fight anymore (regarding diagnosis / treatment of endometriosis). I also love patient education, as think this enables patient choice.

What was your best career move?
Applying to do my PgCert in Gynaecology and Early Pregnancy Ultrasound. But before that applying for a role in Gynaecology in the first place!

What inspires and motivates you?
My patients – seeing the difference you can make to someone’s day / health / life is really inspirational. Learning – I hope I never stop learning and am always willing to learn a new skill.

What prompted you to join the Women's Health Forum committee?
To work alongside a group of like-minded people, who are passionate about Womens Health and supporting the thousands of nurses who are too. I felt that it was a great opportunity to be involved in something ‘bigger’ and I am very grateful.

If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?
It would be fantastic to get rid of the ‘post code lottery’. The access to different services for patients across the UK is quite something.

What book should every nurse read?
Nursing Management of Womens Health. Although recently my grandmother-in-law gave me a copy of ‘Aids to Gynaecological Nursing’ from 1947 and it’s amazing to see how much, and sometimes how little, has changed!

What would you still like to achieve in your career?
I’d love to be an ANP or Consultant nurse.

Where would we find you when you are not working in women's health?
Out walking my rescue greyhound, out in search of the best almond croissant or at home listening to jazz or trance (quite different, I know!). 

Michael Neville

Michael Nevill

What is your current role?

Director of Nursing at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)

 

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I love the fact that I am in a position where I can support both our staff and our clients. As the professional lead for nurses and midwives at BPAS I ensure that their voice is heard right throughout the organisation, and through policy and audit writing I also help to ensure that our clients get the best possible care in a supportive environment.

 

What was your best career move?

It was actually my move to BPAS. I was in a job that I really didn’t enjoy and therefore my employers were not getting the best out of me. I would advise anyone not to stay in a role they don’t enjoy, Nursing is such an amazing career, you can easily change your pathway.

 

What inspires and motivates you?

I have always believed that patients should receive the care that you would want for yourself or your loved ones. I am therefore motivated to ensure that we deliver the best care possible. 


What prompted you to join the Women's Health Forum committee?

The opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and shape national policy.


If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?

Legislation on minimum staffing levels.


What book should every nurse read?

If you’re reading this then you should read Nursing Management of Women’s Health edited by D.Holloway.


What would you still like to achieve in your career?

I would like to undertake some work in a developing country, and possibly a PhD.

 

Where would we find you when you are not working in women's health?

Usually in the kitchen baking, and while its baking I’ll be found in the garden.

Ruth Bailey

Ruth Bailey

Twitter:  RuthRGNBrighton

What is your Current Role?
Advanced Nurse Practitioner Sexual Health

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Being able to make a difference to women, particularly those who are marginalised in society. I thrive on the diversity of my role and enjoy working with women across all ages and backgrounds, discussing choices in contraception, menopause and managing sexual health. I particularly enjoy teaching and undertaking practical procedures like LARC fitting.

What was your best career move?
Taking a year out to complete an MSc in Nursing before I had children.

What inspires and motivates you?
I am motivated by injustice and  I am constantly inspired by the power of nursing to touch people’s lives.

What prompted you to join the women’s health forum?
The opportunity to work with like-minded nurses, to campaign for womens health, shape policy and wave the flag for women’s health.

If you were the Health Secretary and could make one singe change, what would it be?
I would give Nurses and Midwives a realistic and meaningful pay rise that reflected the skills and expertise of our safety- critical profession and that would address the workforce crises that currently puts patients at risk.

What book should every nurse read?
'Why I am no longer talking to white people about Race' Reni-Eddo Lodge. It has painfully opened my eyes to systematic racism in the UK.

What would you still like to achieve in your career?
To become a Menopause Specialist and to practice overseas in a developing country.

Where would we find you when you are not working in Women’s Health?
On the beach! I am always energised by a run on the seafront or a dip in the sea.

Dr Wendy Norton - RCN Fellow

What is your current role?
Researcher

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
My research focuses on themes at the intersection of women's health, reproduction, and equality and diversity. I enjoy listening to service users’ experiences of healthcare and using this information to advance knowledge and care delivery.

What was your best career move?
Moving from general gynaecology into the more specialised field of fertility, and being able to combine clinical practice and research in this area.

What inspires and motivates you?
Listening to the voices of patients and translating these findings and knowledge into clinical practice, to impact policies and practice guidance, and to enhance care and outcomes for service users.

What prompted you to join the women’s health forum?
I am passionate about promoting women’s health and wanted to contribute to, and develop initiatives, that influence practice and improve women’s health care provision

If you were the Health Secretary and could make one single change, what would it be?
To address the inequalities and structural determinants that often reinforce stigma and taboo about women’s health issues such as menstruation and menopause, and may restrict women’s access to health services

What book should every nurse read?
Nursing Management of Women’s Health: A Guide for Nurse Specialists and Practitioners by Debra Holloway

What would you still like to achieve in your career?
More research focussing on the experiences of marginalised patient groups within healthcare settings to enable us to capture previously unheard voices in research, and provide evidence for shaping the delivery of high-quality patient care.

Where would we find you when you are not working in women’s health?
I love to travel and learn more about different cultures, so sightseeing somewhere in the world.

Contact

Professional Lead: Carmel Bagness

Follow the forum on Twitter @RCNWomensHealth

Page last updated - 06/05/2022