This months Nurse Interview: Karen Henderson

INGID members love to hear about the work other members do. If you would like to share your news or story or a ‘day in the life of’ please contact Geraldine via: 


This month we hear from Karen:

I work at Papworth Hospital NHS Trust situated in Cambridgeshire UK which is one of the largest specialist cardiothoracic hospitals in Europe. I have been in post nearly 18 years as a Nurse Specialist within the Lung Defence Service. This service specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of difficult lung infections, including patients with non-CF bronchiectasis, Primary Immunodeficiency (PID)and Secondary Immunodeficiency disorders (SID), and other lung conditions. 

I work within a fantastic nursing and multidisciplinary team, my role is varied with clinical, leadership and management responsibilities. We have an established Immunoglobulin Home Therapy training programme for patients with PID and SID. We have approximately 100 patients receiving Immunoglobulin therapy with the majority of our patient group having subcutaneous Immunoglobulin at home. Our team are currently working towards accreditation through Quality in Primary Immunodeficiency Services (QPID) and look forward to achieving this in the future.  Alongside the Home Therapy Service the Immunology nursing team offer a range of support mechanisms to facilitate patient’s self-management of their condition through the provision of a very busy nurse led telephone support service and nurse led annual telephone review consultations.

In the last three years the scope of my role has developed and I also line manage a successful Home Intravenous Antibiotic Service to enable patients to learn how to self-administer antibiotic therapy at home. I participate in the clinical assessment of patients when they return for clinical review at day 7 and 14 of their IV antibiotic therapy. Overall my working days are very varied and I love my job!

I joined INGID 17 years ago, (seems like yesterday) and have been fortunate enough to attend lots of INGID/ESID Conferences with the opportunity to participate in workshops and give presentations.  I definitely advocate joining INGID if you are a nurse caring for patients with PID. The conferences provide excellent learning and networking opportunities to inform evidence based practice and I have made many friends along the away, had lots of fun and have met people from all over the world.

I find working and caring for patients with PID very rewarding.  One aspect I particularly enjoy is supporting patients and their families to help them self-care and self-manage their conditions.  I believe this is one of the greatest issues facing Nurse Specialists within the NHS and beyond globally as more people are diagnosed with long-term conditions and a growing aging population. Healthcare provision needs to be proactive to support people with long term health conditions and their carers to live healthily and independently, with better control over the care they receive. I feel that Nurse Specialists caring for patients with PID and the associated complexities, challenges and rewards of proactively managing these long term conditions require a range of nursing skills and characteristics. These include excellent communication skills, compassion, decision making and problem solving skills to support the promotion of patient self-management when possible with a strong sense of professional accountability to provide quality care.

For anyone considering or embarking on a career within the speciality of Immunology nursing this is an exciting time with advances in the diagnosis, management and treatment of PID. There are many opportunities for nursing research and developing nurse led services within this specialist area.

In 2018, Papworth Hospital will move to a brand new state of the art hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical campus. We are looking forward to further developing patient focused Immunology Services in collaboration with our colleagues at the Cambridge University Hospital.  


More to explorer

ESID 2024

INGID News April 2024

ESID/INGID/IPOPI CONFERENCE 2024 We are delighted to invite you to the 21st Biennial ESID/INGID/IPOPI Meeting to be held 16-19 October 2024, in Marseille, France. The theme for the meeting will

Read More »