International Nurses Day 2022 - our Endocrine Nurses

International Nurses Day (IND) is an international day observed around the world on 12 May (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth) of each year, to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. This year’s theme is ‘Best of Nursing’. We may be a tad biased but we think Pauline and Darshna, our endocrine nurses, show off the best in nursing.

They support around 650 patients each year, providing essential support to those who need it most:

“I just wanted to say thank you for your charity. When I was going through my diagnosis process I spoke to one of your nurses and she was so reassuring, I am glad I found you."

 

 

We spoke to Pauline and Darshna about their journey into endocrinology.

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Darshna’s story

Since then I have loved every experience of nursing – almost 20 years! I leaned more towards the medical field of nursing, just because there is so much to learn. It certainly moulded me as a person. The lessons were hard at times, but again, they were gems for life.“I knew I wanted to make a difference to people, be it teaching, caring or supporting.  My nursing study started at University of Central Lancashire. I definitely knew that I had chosen the right vocation for me, however, I had no previous experience and I was thrown into placements on the wards and places like A&E. You could say it was a steep learning curve and it was make or break time!

Falling into Endocrinology was the best thing that happened to me because I found my niche – my calling in life! I found something that wowed me! I’ve said it many times - the world of Endocrinology is vast and it impacts the patient in totality! It’s not a ‘one pill fix it’, it’s a life-long adjustment with highs and lows. Specialising in something so rare is a reason to explore, learn and network with people to deliver the best possible quality of care we give to our patients, one of the sole reasons we go into nursing. Empowering patients with the knowledge of their condition is in return empowering for me. 

The Pituitary Foundation has been a magnificent support mechanism for many over the years.

On this day, I’d like to thank all the people who have enriched my life both professionally and personally.

Happy International Nurse Day!”

PaulinePauline’s Story

“I never had any intention of becoming a specialist nurse in Endocrinology when I commenced my nurse training. In fact, I’m not sure such a post had even been thought of back then.

Looking back during my training, I can see how I was being pulled that way. During my obstetric placement, I perked up when midwives began talking of prolactin and a rare but potential pituitary emergency. On medical and surgical wards, I was always more drawn to the patients with thyroid diseases.

Once training had been completed, I gained a post on the hospital’s Metabolic Bone Ward. This started with an investigation into osteoporosis and Paget’s disease, and the operation for this was performed by the Biochemistry Department. This is where hormones started to come to life for me and from here, I moved to our Programmed Investigation Unit. So I began my placement in endocrinology - so many insulin stress tests, day curves, synacthen tests, glucose tolerance tests and test doses of Octreotide and, for the longer diagnosed amongst you, TRH and Maxalon tests. Here, I began relationships with patients that were to last for the rest of my NHS working life as it was from this unit I moved to become an Endocrine Specialist Nurse.

Once I was established in this post, the nurse service we provided began to develop with nurse led clinics and further nurse appointments to the team, resulting in my leading a team of 5. Part of my role was to support the Pituitary Clinic, held in conjunction with our neighbouring Neurosurgical and Oncology Centres. Through this clinic I was able to follow patients from diagnosis through treatment and to their follow ups, which was often in our nurse led clinic as we managed growth hormone replacement and octreotide treatments.

One of the best parts of the role was the comfortableness that developed between me and patients. Over time our clinic room could be heard with peals of laughter as we caught up with events of the previous 6 months. This, I believe, is as much a part of nursing as checking blood pressures and distributing prescriptions. Seeing the change in patients starting growth hormone replacement used to give me a buzz and although I’ve witnessed it many times, the emergence of the ‘real’ person 6 - 9 months into treatment has never lost its magic.

Now I use all the skills from those previous roles to help The Foundation deliver advice and support to patients across the country (and sometimes beyond). At times this can be difficult as I cannot prescribe or offer individual clinical advice - that responsibility always lies with the medical team leading the individuals care. However, I find I am able to have impact and make a difference to a patient’s life by listening, acknowledging their feelings and offering suggestions on how to proceed.”

 

Thank you to both Pauline and Darshna, on behalf of everyone who uses our services, for their hard work and essential support. Our services are completely dependent on donations, so please consider donating to that we can support more patients. £25 could help fund our Endocrine Nurse Helpline for 1 hour.