A specialist nurse in gynaecology at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, is blazing a trail in her profession by becoming the first Nurse Hysteroscopist in Cumbria.
Caroline Bell from west Cumbria is now one of only 80 nurse Hysteroscopists in the UK and she is aiming to standardise the role in order to reduce national waiting times for this procedure to enable patients to be diagnosed and treated quicker.
A hysteroscopist performs a procedure to examine the inside of the womb (uterus) using a hysteroscope, which is a narrow telescope with a light. Outpatient hysteroscopy is used to investigate the cause of abnormal bleeding, can rule out cancer and can identify and treat other conditions of the womb.
This is a role traditionally undertaken by doctors or consultants but because of demands on their time there can be waiting lists. Caroline has now set up specific clinics for this procedure at West Cumberland Hospital and around 10 patients every week are currently benefitting from Caroline’s skills.
Caroline explained: “Previously women could have this procedure but there was waiting lists and I felt that this was something I could help with. I completed my masters at Bradford University and now I have set up dedicated nurse-led clinics which means I am able to see, diagnose and treat women on the same day.
“My vision is to standardise care nationally and I want to put Cumbria on the map for good practice and to be able to offer incentives to more nursing staff to train and acquire new skills like I have.”
As a result of her ambitious and pioneering work, Caroline now has the first nurse hysteroscopy students, registered with the University of Bradford working with our nurses and consultants in Cumbria.
Mr Oudai Ali, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology worked with Caroline to help upskill her.
Mr Ali said: “Caroline proved to be a great investment for the Trust through her dedication, motivation and ambition to improve services. Caroline’s training and acquiring advanced skills is a model to study and follow to inspire staff to create similar success stories.”
Caroline is recognised nationally by the BSGE committee (British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy) and is the nurse representative on the committee.
She said: “It is an honour to be the Nurse Hysetroscopist on the committee. I have the motivation to enhance the profile and increase its contribution to teaching and scientific activities particularly around the rethinking of post-menopausal bleeding. It is my passion to help raise national awareness of this common problem, recognising it at different levels and share good practice.”
Wendy-Rae Mitchell, Chair of the BSGE Nurse & Paramedic Members British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy said: “As Chair of the BSGE Nurse and Paramedic Subcommittee, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to highlight Caroline’s achievements in the short time she has been working with us.
“She has boundless energy and enthusiasm but notably she is a great example to all her colleagues, working hard to maintain professional standards and support for her colleagues, thereby ensuring best practice and patient care.
“Caroline has the determination and attitude to succeed in all of her objectives. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and her achievements to-date should certainly acknowledged and recognised.”