Miriam Asia (right) and Andrea Mason (left), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) in endocrinology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) tell us about their work in endocrine nursing and what they are looking forward to at SfE BES 2017, 6-8 November in Harrogate.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and where you work
Miriam: As an endocrine specialist nurse, I run the adrenal nurse-led clinic, post-traumatic brain injury endocrine screening clinic and support the young adult clinic. I have also completed the Non-Medical Prescribing course at Masters Level and I am planning to start a masters in endocrinology.
Andrea: I currently look after three nurse-led clinics; late effects of cancer treatment (transition clinic from children’s to adult services), pituitary and a new clinic that monitors patients who have developed immune-related adverse events in response to immune check-point inhibitor treatment. I have a particular interest in the quality of life issues surrounding endocrine conditions.
Q: What inspired you to work in endocrinology?
Miriam: I only knew about endocrinology through nursing textbooks but now, being able to see endocrine patients, reviewing them in clinic and working with them through their endocrine journey makes me realise even more how fascinating and exciting endocrinology is. Especially when I see the difference it makes to our patients during and following treatment.
Andrea: During my nurse training I developed a keen interest in cancer nursing and worked in oncology for many years until an opportunity for me to branch out into endocrinology as a Clinical Nurse Specialist arose. This position was to cover maternity leave and I knew little about endocrinology, so I had to learn on the job quickly! During my first week, I attended the Society’s Endocrine Nurse Update and was totally blown away by the specialty. The journey had started; I spent evenings studying after work trying to get to grips with the basics.
Q: What are you looking forward to at SfE BES 2017?
Miriam: As well as the plenaries and nurses’ sessions, I am also looking forward to the ‘Meet the Expert’ and ‘How Do I…’ sessions, especially those relevant to my clinical practice.
Andrea: This is my second SfE BES and I am looking forward to the nurses’ sessions, particularly those on opiate-induced endocrinopathy, and development of endocrinopathy following metastatic melanoma treatment. I also enjoy meeting and networking with other endocrine nurses.
Q: What are your career highlights so far?
Miriam: I recently completed a sky dive (see photo right), with some of my CNS colleagues, in support of our QEHB charity for the Young Adult Clinic!
Andrea: Highlights in my nursing career, include working as an Endocrine Nurse Specialist and successfully completing the Non-Medical Prescribing course at Masters Level.
Q: Who do you most admire professionally and why?
Miriam: My endocrine colleagues – nurses and doctors – at QEHB who work with such competence and dedication to look after our endocrine patients
Andrea: I have had an inspiring and passionate Endocrine Lead Nurse to guide me throughout the last five years and support my development. I have also had the support and patience from a caring team of endocrinologists.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out in endocrine nursing?
Miriam: Although endocrine nursing is a challenging specialist role that requires a lot of reading and studying, it is rewarding in the end.
Andrea: It does take time to understand the speciality and additional studying is required but when you understand the basics of the endocrine system, it is all very logical. I would say to any nurse…. go for it!
Q: What are your future career aspirations?
Miriam: To complete my masters in endocrinology and become more confident and competent in dealing with complex endocrine cases as a result. I also hope to see more nurse consultants and nurse led clinics being set up.
Andrea: My future plans are to remain in my current position and I am looking to complete a master’s degree in endocrinology.
Don’t miss the dedicated Nurses’ Lounge at SfE BES 2017, giving nurses the opportunity to meet and network in their own space. This is especially beneficial when you are travelling on your own, or if you are a first-time attendee, as there is nearly always somebody there to chat to. At designated break times there is at least one member of the Nurse Committee on hand for you to get to know.