In 2016, we launched our More IBD Nurses – Better Care campaign to urge NHS managers and commissioners to increase the number of IBD Nurses across the UK. Thanks to you and your emails to hospital Chief Executives, we’ve been able to push up IBD Nurse numbers.
Since the campaign launch, IBD Nurses have increased by over a third (32%) across the UK.
Plus, in our nurse survey, almost one in three IBD Nurses (27%) said that our campaign had been influential in securing new nursing posts in their hospitals - something we should all be proud of.
But we also know that hospitals across the UK are 270 IBD Nurses short, so there is still a long way to go to ensure everyone living with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis has access to an IBD Nurse.
As well as providing clinical care for people living with Crohn’s or Colitis, an IBD Nurse Specialist is a mentor, emotional supporter and an advocate for better care and an end to stigma. Without them, people with the conditions are missing out on this important care.
I’ve seen the very worst side of Crohn’s Disease and I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer that alone, without an IBD Nurse. Everyone with Crohn’s or Colitis should have an IBD Nurse. These angels changed my life.
We also asked IBD Nurses about what they do day-to-day in their role, and we found that nurses are working at an advanced level, often running clinics by themselves, prescribing medication, and ordering investigations.
But only 14% of IBD Nurses are educated to MSc level, which is the level of education recommended for advanced practice.
This is a really exciting, ground-breaking programme. We are working with NHS employers, universities & the Royal College of Nursing to guide nurses in their careers and to get the qualifications they need.
In return, we get all the benefit of these inspirational nurses, working closely with the charity and its supporters.
Our aim over the next five years is to create 100 Crohn’s & Colitis UK Nurse Specialists who are well trained, supported and visible in hospitals.
That’s why we’ve launched our Nurse Specialist programme to annually fund ten nurses to complete MScs in advanced nursing practice, and ten MSc qualified nurse specialists to complete Royal College of Nursing Advanced Practice Credentialing.
These Crohn’s & Colitis UK Nurse Specialists will be in posts up and down the country, building a community of nurses representing the charity and flying the flag for better care for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.
I never set out to be an IBD Nurse Specialist when I qualified in 2005, but nor do patients in my care set out to become unwell with a chronic disease that impacts so profoundly on every part of their lives.
Since the first week in my role six and a half years ago, I realised what a fundamental difference nursing can make to these people. The Crohn’s & Colitis UK Nurse Specialist programme is building on this, creating an opportunity to share success and to continue to support innovation and service development. I am honoured and excited to be part of the programme.