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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > New Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nurse Specialist for West Cumberland Hospital

New Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nurse Specialist for West Cumberland Hospital

Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2013

Wendy McManus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nurse Specialist

West Cumberland Hospital has welcomed the addition of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) nurse specialist to provide continuity of care for patients with this chronic condition.

Wendy McManus has worked for the Trust since 2009 in Endoscopy at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and became an IBD Nurse Specialist in April 2013. Wendy now holds clinics two days a week at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and an afternoon in Workington Community Hospital.

Nurse specialists provide invaluable care to IBD patients. Inflammatory bowel disease - Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis - are chronic, debilitating, lifelong conditions that are unpredictable and mainly affect people aged between 15 and 35 years old.

Symptoms can include going to the toilet up to 15 times a day with diarrhoea, passing blood and mucus, abdominal pain, tiredness and fatigue, swollen joints, mouth ulcers and eye problems. Around 250,000 people in the UK have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, with up to 18,000 new cases a year.

With numbers increasing, the Trust introduced nurse-led clinics at West Cumberland Hospital, with the service already in place at the Cumberland Infirmary. Specialist nurses co-ordinate and deliver individual patient care. Wendy explains: “I’m available on the phone, via text or email for patients to get in touch for advice about symptoms, general support or information requests. This contact can empower patients and help them to feel supported – a lack of communication can lead to frustration and anger. Some patients may find it easier to talk to a nurse specialist about it rather than speaking to friends or family as they can find it difficult and embarrassing.

“I am making plans to restart the patient panel meetings in Whitehaven to give our patients a voice and contribute their suggestions.

“I also liaise with GPs and consultants and advise GPs on the next steps for their patient. We work to try to prevent admission to hospital by arranging emergency outpatient appointments when the patient first notices a deterioration of symptoms.”

Wendy became interested in developing the role in Whitehaven when she saw the work that Vikki Edge, the IBD Nurse Specialist in Carlisle, was doing and the difference she was making to patients. Wendy had also studied IBD as part of her degree which further fuelled her interest: “As a specialist in one area, I have expanded my expertise and skills. I enjoy the challenges the role brings and the fact that I can learn so much every day. Most importantly, I feel as though I can make a difference.”