What is your role?
Barts Health HIV Network Lead Nurse.
Tell me about your background?
I trained in South Africa as a Registered Nurse in general nursing, community, psychiatry and midwifery. I started working in UK from February 1999 in Royal Liverpool University Hospital in a clinical pharmacology ward that specialised also in HIV. I met great HIV patients in the unit and I learnt so much from them about HIV and challenges of living with HIV. Some of them have now passed. I moved to London in 2003 and joined Barts and The London NHS Trust now Barts Health.
I then developed myself by doing MBA in Healthcare Support Management; then a post-graduate diploma in Academic Practice. I’m also a fellow in Higher Education Academy. I joined as an E grade then progressed within the Trust to a lead nurse role. I’m responsible for the effective leadership and management of nursing team including HIV community nursing to ensure high quality HIV care at Bart’s Health in line with NMC, NHIVNA and BHIVA guidelines. I’m a lead nurse for HIV/Hep B/Hep C co-infections as well as having strategic responsibility for the service with our clinical lead.
How did you become interested in working in the Barts HIV team?
Having worked in Liverpool and learnt so much from my patients, I became so passionate with the speciality and so that as a calling for me. I was always involved in South Africa in youth development programmes and organised a lot of talks around drug use and sexual health including HIV prevention. I joined Frederick Andrewes ward and that passion grew in the speciality and I had great connection with my patients. I advocated for my patients and the multi-disciplinary team.
What is happening for World AIDS day at our hospitals?
- Staff participating in Rock the Red Ribbon campaign and raising funds for National AIDS Trust.
- Staff from GHU participated in the Red Run to raise funds for Positive East HIV Charity.
- An audit of staff understanding on the developments in HIV care.
- Creating awareness within the Trust around HIV care.
What is the significance of the World AIDS Day?
- Raising awareness of the challenges faced by people living with HIV
- Remembering and paying our respect to those who died due to HIV infections
- Recognising achievements made to date in HIV care
Do you think there is still stigma attached to the condition? If so how can we challenge it?
Yes; patients have reported their experiences in healthcare, community and social networks. A lot of work has gone to patients, educating them around U=U concept, but not enough has been done within the healthcare for healthcare professionals. We have carried out our initial audit around staff understanding of where we are with HIV care and this will help us gain an understanding of staff understanding. The key to all this will be in the first instance training of staff within the organisation to achieve our goal of becoming a stigma-free Trust in the next few years. We have started collaborative working in tackling this big challenge as a service.