I am extremely proud to be a Nurse and equally proud to be a Stoma Care Nurse. Stoma Care Nursing is my true passion, I have worked within this specialist sphere of practice for over 25 years.
My first staff nurse post was on a general surgical ward. During my initial few months, I had the fortunate pleasure of looking after a young man whose story, amongst many others things inspired me to embark on a career in stoma care nursing. He wrote a very descriptive and emotive piece entitled “who wants to be a Kangaroo”. The story reflected upon his time living with Ulcerative Colitis, then experiencing life with an ileostomy and finally getting used to living with an ileo-anal pouch.
After a few years, gaining vital experience on a colorectal/endocrine/urology ward, I was fortunate enough to secure my first Stoma Care Nurse position in Oxford.
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust (as it was then) is a large teaching hospital, which inevitably led us to being exposed to a wide variety of bowel related issues, some fairly common and others not so well known! We cared for a large number of patients ranging from pre-term neonates to octogenarians and older, with varying colo-rectal conditions many requiring stoma formation. In 1998, I was fortunate enough to secure the position of Lead Nurse for Stoma and Colorectal Nursing in Oxford. It was a fantastic opportunity to lead a large team of Nurse Specialists all practicing within the specialist sphere of colorectal Nursing, which included Stoma Care, Colorectal, Endoscopy and Pelvic Floor.
In the early noughties I set up one of the very first Nurse-led Ileo-anal pouch Clinics in UK following a very positive pilot study to ascertain patients’ views. The clinic had a huge positive impact on the quality of care given to this patient cohort. The clinic evolved and consequently we were seeing large numbers of patients each week, as well as carrying out investigative procedures in clinic and within the endoscopy setting. This was the catalyst for me to commence my Nurse Practitioners Master’s Degree, in which I subsequently undertook a phenomenological research study involving several patients living with an ileo-anal pouch for my thesis.
I commenced a Clinical Role with the Research and Development Team for Salts Healthcare in 2012, this role allowed me to offer a clinical viewpoint to the development of ostomy products. I worked closely with patients gathering their insights on product development projects, as well as working with a skillful design engineering team.
In 2017, I was fortunate enough to be voted onto the Association of Stoma Care Nurses (ASCN) UK committee as the Vice Chairperson. This is a role I have found immensely rewarding, but equally challenging at times. A role enables me to support and represent the stoma care specialism by being proactive and committed to help in the advancement of our role nationally, as well as collaborating with colleagues to provide robust evidence based support to nurses.
In January 2020, I commenced a new role at Salts Healthcare: that of Clinical Marketing Lead. As a healthcare company, we are passionate about our patients and the services and products we offer. We are committed to our value of caring, listening and innovating to improve patient lives.
I hope to raise the awareness amongst patients and Healthcare Professionals of the work we are all involved with at Salts. This can vary from sharing exciting aspects of our Research and Development work (when appropriate), show-casing details of our highly accredited stoma care products as well as promoting education events and the accredited stoma care courses offered by Salts Academy.