Meet Claire Stirling, endocrine nurse specialist and poster-award winner at SfE BES 2022

Claire Stirling is an endocrine nurse specialist, who helped to found the Gender Identity Nurse Led Clinic in Grampian Aberdeen. In November 2022 Claire attended SfE BES in Harrogate and presented her poster alongside her colleagues, and was recognised with an award. Find out about her endocrine nurse specialist journey, her new-found passion for presenting research and her joy at the endocrine nurse community.

My career in nursing began with a solid training program in all areas of nursing at Robert Gordons University Aberdeen. I reflect fondly on my nursing training. I was chosen to represent Aberdeen with a fellow nursing student to visit our sister city of Houston as part of the Houston Texas Exchange Program and visit their many wonderful medical and surgical facilities. It showed me in the early stages of my career the wider world of nursing and medicine as a whole and how fruitful the exchange of knowledge between fellow nursing colleagues within our working daily lives and across the world can be. In present day I gain so much from attending endocrine conference meetings, sharing in the exchange of knowledge as I did in my early nursing training

When I graduated from nursing I began my career path in cardio thoracic, moving to the specialty of general medicine and then diabetes and endocrinology, working for many years building solid foundations in my nursing practice. I continue to preserve my overall ward nursing skills working as a general bank nurse, as well as being an endocrine specialist nurse permanently, which I became seven years ago. I feel my experience from general medical wards compliments my daily work with my patients within the endocrinology nurse speciality.

Patients I meet from the various clinics we run as endocrine specialist nurses can be complex and have other medical issues alongside an endocrine diagnosis. I am passionate about nursing as a whole and put my patients at the very centre of my daily professional nursing role as an endocrine specialist nurse.

My entry to endocrine nursing was a natural progression in my career. Over a year ago I was given the opportunity to start a Gender Identity Nurse Led Clinic with my two consultant mentors, Dr Dymott and Dr McGeoch who have been exceptionally supportive. These consultants devised the nursing role I have, having established the GIC within Aberdeen Grampian initially themselves a few years ago.

I was motivated to showcase the nurse-led GIC at SfE BES 2022 to inspire other specialist nurses to establish and develop  such a role within their own areas of endocrinology, and was overwhelmed how well received my poster presentation was at the conference and was exceptionally honoured to receive an award. I was delighted to share my experience of my nurse-led gender identity clinic and hope it inspires other nurses to do such a poster to showcase their own hard work and share a nursing clinical framework such as I did, in order for other nurses to potentially be encouraged and inspired to mirror and utilise within their own areas.

The success of my poster presentation has certainly aided my confidence and belief in myself as a practioner, my advice to other specialist nurses is don’t be scared to shine your bright light of knowledge with others. I have received nothing but positive feedback on my work from fellow nurses.

I have found the experience truly warming. The endocrine specialist nursing community is a wonderful community of professionals who support one another. I feel so inspired to present again, I encourage other endocrine specialist nurses to share their current work, research and knowledge and shine bright at the next SfE BES!

I thank my mentors Dr Dymott and Dr McGeoch within GIC, who support me in my GIC specialist role, who encouraged me to present a poster. I must also thank Dr Abraham and Dr Graveling who have given unwavering support, encouragement and inspiration in my endocrine specialty journey for these past years alongside my wonderful fellow specialist nursing team, led by lead endocrine specialist nurse Morag Middleton who I thank for their ongoing support and encouragement also.

Here is to the next endocrine conference meeting, look forward to seeing other fellow specialist nurses sharing their knowledge there. I am delighted to say I have been kindly invited to speak at the next nurse led conference in Birmingham this April, again another opportunity to shine a light of the GIC work we are doing in Aberdeen Grampian.

Claire Stirling and her colleagues, Jane Dymott and Susan McGeoch presented their award-winning poster ‘Our Grampian experience of establishing an endocrine nurse specialist service within the Gender identity clinic’.

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