The Role of the Nurse Consultant

From Dr Jan Till

We are delighted that the Ben Williams Trust has raised monies to allow us to create the first Nurse Consultant in Inherited Cardiac Conditions in the UK.  Historically nurses and doctors have delivered different aspects of medical care but more recently multidisciplinary team working has been recognised as an essential approach to delivering more holistic health care, ensuring all important aspects of patient wellbeing are considered. It has increasingly been introduced and adopted by services in the UK.  Traditional barriers between professional groups are slowly being eroded and whilst the doctor may still be leading the direction of medical care, the importance of associated allied professionals is fully acknowledged.  The specialist nurse plays a vital role in the care of the family dealing with inherited cardiac conditions and we are excited to provide this new nurse consultant role that will further recognise the important part played in care by the nurse. 

When a family is impacted by an inherited condition, not only are they dealing with a life-threatening illness, often in a young person, or even a sudden unexpected death, but they may then discover that further family members are also affected.  The impact is immense and far reaching. Having well-educated professionals on hand to help everyone come to term with the facts, navigate the system and coordinate visits for tests and appointments to the hospital for multiple people can make an enormous difference.  Returning to school and work, living with devices such as defibrillators and understanding complicated genetic information that may need to be disseminated through a large family can be very problematic without help.  In the Royal Brompton Inherited Cardiac Conditions service, it is the specialist nurse who can assist and inform with real knowledge. 

Inherited cardiac conditions are relatively new in medicine and we are still unravelling this diverse set of conditions, which can have such a devastating effect on individuals and families. There is much to learn, and research is vital in all aspects of disease and service delivery.  This new role will promote and initiate important research in previously neglected areas to inform and improve future care. 

The Inherited Cardiac Conditions service at the Royal Brompton is one of the oldest well-established clinical services in the world.  Sharing knowledge of both medical and service practice and educating new staff is an essential and important part of our work.  This new role will allow time for this knowledge sharing and education and provide a beacon of inspiration for future nurses in Inherited Cardiac Conditions.

We are very excited that the Royal Brompton Trust has acknowledged and accepted this role and truly grateful that the Ben Williams Trust has had the foresight to back us in this very innovative and exciting endeavour in the quest to improve the lives of people with Inherited Cardiac Conditions.