Fran Ashworth was interviewed for June’s INGID newsletter. Fran received the lifetime achievement award at last year’s INGID meeting in Lisbon.Here is what she had to say about her work, her thoughts on receiving the award and how she supports junior nursing staff in their roles.
Fran, where do you work?
Clinical Immunology & Allergy Unit
Northern General Hospital
What is your role?
Currently I am the Immunology & Allergy Nurse Specialist & Home Therapy Coordinator
This generates many facets to the post, I liase with the home care team to ensure smooth transition from hospital to home for the patients. I also am an independent nurse prescriber which ensures I deliver all aspects of the service seamlessly.
Education is also crucial to my role not only with patients and their families but to other disciplines within the Trust and with various disciplines in other areas.
Describe an average day
No day is ever the same, like everyone there is the paperwork involving guidelines to update.
Home therapy training and home visits to undertake and prepare to deliver all aspects of care depending what is required at the time.
I also have an Allergy Clinic once a week (I work three days)
There is always the unexpected events to deal with, not only patients but families to support which is vital to the holistic care of patients. We also look after patients with Hereditary Angioedema. We have an open access policy during working hours for people who are symptomatic. They can attend the unit for treatment / assessment. This service is not as well utilised as previously, now that patients are taught to self- infuse at home.
What proportion of your patients who are on IRT receive SCIg therapy and please tell us a little about that e.g. push v pump
From home therapy perspective
60 % of patients are on subcutaneous infusions
of the patients that are on SCIg therapy, 20% use the Rapid Push while 80% use a pump or syringe driver.
Do you have many patients that go onto transplant?
Are you involved in or are you undertaking any research? If so please tell us a bit about it
Not at this moment in time, I have been active in Research prior to this journey in my career
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing nurses working within PID today?
I believe there are two issues, one being the recruitment and retention of nurses. We need to encourage people to not only look at nursing as an amazing career but to ensure immunology and allergy are included and taught as part of the training programme. We need to encourage the retention of our experienced nurse specialist in this amazing speciality
The other concern of course is the current situation we find ourselves in with challenge of supply of immunoglobulins
You have had a long career to date, what has been the highlight of your career?
There are so many highlights in my career. I have to say one of the most recent is the Lifetime achievement award. The main highlight of my career is having the privilege of being a part of people’s lives and empowering them to deliver their own care with our support.
Why did you join INGID?
I joined INGID almost at the start of my Immunology career. The group was quite unique and the educational opportunities were amazing even in the early days. The group has developed over the years and is an amazing source of information for both established and new members
At the 2018 INGID meeting, Lisbon, you received a lifetime achievement in immunology Nursing award, what does this mean to you and how might it affect the way you work?
This precious award was so very unexpected and humbling for me. I keep trying to ensure the people and families in our care receive holistic package of care that includes always listening to the needs of the people and their families.
Fran, you have already achieved so much; where to next?
We need to continue to support and mentor the newer members of the Immunology community and whist I continue in the post aim to be a source of support and point of contact for new staff.
Any words of advice or tips for other INGID members?
The INGID group is a source of knowledge and is accessible for all the group members, it is a real learning programme and each and every member is available for support and information.
Nurses should support the meetings and aim to be part of this amazing group either by being a member or part of the committee. Everyone has something to offer to this international group.
Once again, I would like to say how very much I appreciate the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the other bonus of this group is one also makes friends for life.