Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Nurse Specialist
Jacqui Cowlard is a Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Nurse Specialist at Barts and The London Children’s Hospital. She manages and co-ordinates the care of children and young people with cystic fibrosis, both at the hospital and at their homes.
Her job is different every day. Her responsibilities include coordinating two cystic fibrosis clinics a week and going on ward rounds with the cystic fibrosis consultant to see all the cystic fibrosis patients in hospital. She also meets with the team of people who all have different knowledge and skills to care for children with cystic fibrosis. They discuss the patients and make sure that they are all getting all the help they need.
Jacqui visits the Barclay Ward every day to see patients on intravenous antibiotics. She also carries an electronic pager with her so that she can be contacted at any time by the families of her patients – this might involve bringing a patient up for a review or arranging a home visit if they are ill.
Jacqui’s favourite part of her job is “working within a multidisciplinary team; so it’s not just me, it’s the consultant, the physiotherapists, the dieticians, the psychologists…and it’s the teamwork that makes looking after children with cystic fibrosis work well.” She also the community aspect of her job: she helps the patients with their care at home as well as in the hospital.
Her advice for people thinking of going into this profession is to take subjects such as Science or Child Development. IT skills are also important in this job. She would recommend doing some work experience within the health profession, such as in a GP or dental surgery, hospital or “anywhere that helps you start to appreciate what looking after people is really about.”