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As human beings, we all need support, to feel nurtured, educated, to feel loved, to feel secure and safe.  So its not unsurprising that as Specialist Nurses we need that too.

These needs might be given slightly different names such as resources, continuing professional development and organisational support, but it amounts to the same thing. We want to feel confident, secure and valued in our roles and in our personal lives.

But how do Specialist nurses articulate their needs, or rather do they? And if they do speak up about the demands of their service, about lack of resources or unmet patient need are they listened too?

Recently I read a paper in Gastrointestinal Nursing Journal which made me think and reflect on how Apollo can continue to support Specialist Nurses demonstrate their value and demonstrate their patients service needs.

In this paper the authors (Claire Taylor, Dawn Stiff and Jo Garnham) explore the issues that impact on colorectal cancer nurse specialists. They present the findings of a survey,  which although had a low response rate, had clear recurring themes (which are presented in Figure 1 of the paper). The repeated review by Trusts, of specialist nursing services, was a key finding. The authors go on to discuss the 4 main issues impacting on colorectal cancer nurse specialists :

  •                 Clinical pressure
  •                 Lack of organisational support
  •                 Limited administrative support
  •                 Little if any clinical supervision

I am sure that many of you will identify with these challenges and will find resonance in the suggestions raised within the discussion section.

Please do have a read of the paperGastrointestinal Nursing Journal kindly gave Apollo permission to use. For me this paper is important not only for the issues raised within colorectal cancer but also for showing very clearly that these are issues that will be or are impacting on all nurse specialists.

Given the commonality of challenges and pressures within nurse specialist practice can we speak with a unified voice? Can we unite to demonstrate the complexity, value and outcomes of specialist practice? How can Apollo continue to support amplifying the voice of specialist nurses?

As ever, we would really value and welcome your thought, comments and suggestions as to how Apollo can support your collaborative voice.


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