How long have you been a dermatology nurse? Do you care for adults and children?

I have 38 years experience in dermatology nursing and 50 years experience in nursing overall. I moved into dermatology as a research nurse in 1996 which placed me on a clinical and academic career pathway in dermatology nursing. I am qualified to care for all ages throughout the lifespan.

Why is being a dermatology nurse important to you?

I have enjoyed all my nursing roles over the years. These include clinical practice, research, clinical specialism and education. It was my move to into the world of dermatology that gave me the opportunity to really make a difference for patients and the nursing profession. It is making a difference for patients who are living with a lifelong skin condition that is most important to me. I have been lucky enough to have worked in universities, profit and non profit organisations as well as Secondary and Primary Care in the NHS.

What inspired you to follow this career path?

Right from the start my patients inspired me, the positive feedback and the holistic care that was needed. I think for the first time in my nursing career I realised I needed to embrace a bio-psycho-social approach to care. This approach I have fostered always and gave me the opportunity to develop new and innovative roles for dermatology nurses. That career pathway took me to becoming the first Skin Cancer Nurse Specialist and then the first Consultant Nurse in Dermatology in the UK. My career also included being a Senior Lecturer, Manager for Professional Development, and Lead Nurse in Research and Development. Throughout my career and various roles I have always been drawn back to direct patient care. In my twilight years, my current role is Community Dermatology Nurse Specialist whereby I carry out dermatology clinics in GP practices in primary care

What are biggest challenges you face in your role?

The greatest challenges in my current role are resources, both financial and human. Waiting times to be seen in dermatology clinics remain excessively long. I would like to see community based dermatology nurses in every GP surgery. This will help, but we also need professional education and patient education programmes which enhances self care. Having recently reduced my clinical hours , I am spending more time providing education for Primary Care Nurses, District Nurses, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists and Patient Organisations. Within education my biggest challenges remain helping others understand the value of emollients as well as trying to understand and reduce steroid phobia.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being with the patients and their families/carers. Being able to implement a bio-psycho- social approach to care. Seeing the confidence and competence of others (patients, carers and health professionals) in understanding skin care which helps them cope with a lifelong skin condition. I really enjoy education also.

Why have you chosen to get more involved with ISG and join the MAB?

ISG represents everything I have mentioned above which are my passions and what has guided my career to date. Now I am semi-retired I have the time to focus and dedicate to ISG. Hopefully, with my nursing knowledge and clinical skills I can make positive contributions within the MAB.

How do raise awareness and signpost people towards ISG?

I raise awareness and signpost people towards ISG through my clinical practice and educational roles. This mainly includes showing patients and health professionals the ISG website first hand in my clinics. The ISG website is included in my list of resources at the end of every presentation at conferences or webinars. I am also clinical editor of the Dermatological Nursing journal and encourage articles for publication within the clinical practice/education, patient voice, product review and research sections.

Outside your role what are your interests and hobbies?

I have had a love of horses and dogs all my life. At one time, not that long ago, I had 2 horses, 2 dogs and two cats. Quite a handful each day. Now that my family are grown up and flown the nest I relax with my animals by being outdoors, walking and enjoying nature. I also love art and music with an eclectic taste in both. My latest new interest is growing my own vegetables in raised beds. A good book is perfect when I’m on holiday and is a must for me.