On duty, off duty
Debbie is Senior Specialist Nurse and Team Leader of Bladder and Bowel for the Exeter and East Devon Community Nurse teams. Debbie loves the outdoor life – caravans, camping and walking her dogs (and her husband).
Her current hobby is making beaded jewellery, which has altered her whole outlook on jewellery. Where her friends are saying, ‘isn’t it beautiful?’ Debbie is busy deconstructing how it was made and working out the techniques used.
Why continence nursing?
Debbie got into nursing because her parents were nurses and she has a genuine liking for people. “I like chatting to people and finding out all about them. I’m a bit nosey.”
Debbie originally trained in orthopaedic nursing, before a stint in gynaecology, urology and general nursing. Some of her colleagues left to work on the district and Debbie realised that community nursing was the life for her.
Debbie was asked to get involved with a project assessing patients and incontinence pads in residential homes and discovered she had a flair and passion for continence. Debbie joined the ACA and specialised in prostate and erectile dysfunction before becoming a ‘catheter guru’.
She particularly likes this field of nursing because the line between management and patients is blurred – Debbie still has contact with ‘real’ patients on a day to day basis. “You have to like people and want to spend time with them. It’s not just pushing paper about.”
What’s an average day like?
Debbie is based in community trust buildings but is often out and about. The day starts with checking emails and could then be followed by triage in urology and gynae admissions or leading a urology clinic, seeing patients one to one and making clinical decisions.
“Continence advisors have a big strength, in that we understand that there is more than one area that is affected. This means we can really help people.”
Dealing with medical reps
Debbie carries out pad assessments and sits on a national supply chain committee assessing urology products. Debbie also has regular meetings looking at pad usage across the area and deals with medical reps who are invited to attend big team meetings. “One of the ways we stay up to date on new products is via the reps.”
She is involved heavily in education, including guiding the staff that she manages, sitting in on their clinics and teaching district nurses, care home staff, physios and medical students as part of a partnership degree course in continence to multi professionals.
Debbie works closely with continence advisors, nurse consultants and consultants - “You have always got someone to turn to for advice and support.”