Guy’s and St Thomas’ is part of the South East Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (SE GMSA) – a partnership with providers across South East England that aims to ensure patients fully benefit from advances in genomics, enabling timely and equitable access to genomic testing and genomically informed treatments.

Tootie Bueser, previously the Trust’s Lead Nurse for Inherited Cardiac Conditions and now a Director of Nursing and Midwifery at SE GMSA has been awarded funding of £187,189 from the Burdett Trust for Nursing to lead a High Impact Programme across the region to increase knowledge and skills for cardiology specialist nurses to expand their scope of practice, expertise and to develop their leadership skills to support patients and families with ICCs, with the aim of improving diagnosis and patient outcomes.

ICCs affect around 340,000 people in the UK, resulting in ill health and is a leading cause of sudden death in young people. The impact of the conditions on the psychological and social wellbeing of those with the condition and their families is profound, diagnosis rates remain low and the uptake of cardiac screening and/or predictive genetic testing of at-risk family members needs improvement. There is significant potential for the nursing workforce, particularly those who are already working within cardiology to improve the quality of care for this patient group and help to prevent complications and sudden cardiac death.

The programme’s lead Tootie Bueser said: “This grant will enable us to boost the much needed nursing expertise in the diagnosis of ICCs and foster collaborations for service improvement and research across the whole south east region with the aim of improving diagnosis, patient outcomes and equitable access to genomic tests.”

The programme aims to lead practice improvement through:

  • Development of an education package featuring a short film with drop-in sessions designed for all nurses to promote awareness of ICCs – diagnosis and management, genomics, psychosocial impact, family care, referral pathways and patient support groups
  • Development a combined online and in-person training and education programme targeting cardiology specialist nurses with 28 ICC Genomic Nurse Fellowships
  • Provision of foundational and ‘Train the Trainers’ courses for experienced ICC specialist nurses focused on genetic counselling skills to increase nurses’ expertise capability and capacity to provide this service and deliver training to others.
  • Building a network of cardiology specialist nurses with additional training in ICCs to facilitate knowledge exchange, share examples of good practice and development of clinical competencies and evidence-based care pathways.

Commenting on the award Suzanne Bench, Director of Nurse and Midwife Led Research and Academic Leadership at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are delighted that the excellence of nurses at the Trust and across the south east, and their important role in leading research and practice change and improvements, has been recognised through this grant award. Providing a multi-modal, blended education and training for nurses at all stages of their knowledge and experience with ICCs will allow us to nurture a workforce that will be fit to address the needs of patients and families with the most common inherited cardiac conditions –  irrespective of the setting in which they are encountered.”

Find out more about the programme and how to access its resources by contacting tootie.bueser@nhs.net

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