By Sarah Owens – WAGE Communications Lead
This afternoon was an amazing start to our Spring Conference 2022 looking at new and extended roles across Wales. With a warm welcome to our first hybrid conference from our President – Hayley Heard we started our first session chaired by our Vice President – Dr John Green. In this session Lindsay Ritchie – Nurse Lead for WAGE and Hayley Heard presented the plans to develop a new WAGE nursing network to ensure engagement and support for nursing staff across Welsh Health Boards.
Rachael Edwards – Chair of Clinical Endoscopists Wales (CEW) and myself, Sarah Owens – Vice Chair of CEW gave a background history of the Clinical Endoscopist network and where we plan to develop CE’s position in Wales. We gave accounts of our own career pathways to raise awareness of the role and inspire nursing and allied health professionals to consider training in the field.
Rachel Follows – National Clinical Advisor from Health Education England gave a talk on the development of the band 4 role for endoscopy assistants. The presentation expanded to introduce new roles developing across the endoscopy sector, giving inspiration of possibilities for developments in Wales. Swansea Bay Physician Associates – Thomas Addison (Gastroenterology) and Kelly Scott (Colorectal) gave us a great insight into their roles and a background to the origin of the physician associate role.
After a short coffee break Dr Phedra Dodds – Consultant Nurse Endoscopist chaired our next session. Continuing the theme of advanced roles Phedra highlighted the presentation of motivated individuals across our health boards and called for recognition of appropriate banding for these professionals to ensure retention and continuity of services. In this session we heard from Louisa Edwards – CT Advanced Radiography Practitioner giving an insight into her role and development in her practice.
Next up was an interesting talk from Consultant Healthcare Scientist James Peaker discussing the elements of his role including the challenges faced in his developing and unique role. Another inspiring role was introduced by Karrina Mitchell – Hepatology Specialist Nurse. Karrina described the unique primary care service she has developed in, providing patients with fibroscan and liver care in the community setting. This session closed with a talk from Rachel Gidman – Executive Director of People and Culture in Cardiff. Rachel described developments for the future to ensure retention of staff and strategies to ensure development of staff and utilisation of their skills.
The clear theme of the day appeared that advanced practice professionals were able to develop safely within their roles due to the support and presence of their wider teams. It was evident that these valuable specialist roles allow medics and surgeons to focus their efforts in other sectors of their positions. Ensuring specialist care for our patients appears to provide a productive and efficient service, reducing waiting times and ensuring service capacity needs are met. A great day meeting self motivated and driven professionals leading the way for future expansion of roles and services across Wales.