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New ‘academy’ to improve nursing of digestive problems

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A new gastrointestinal academy has been launched at St Thomas’ Hospital in London to help nurses expand their knowledge of digestive health and treatment.

It has been set up to support the 230 nurses working in digestive health at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, with the aim of improving care for patients with gastrointestinal conditions.

“The NHS needs more GI nurses as patient demand increases”

Fiona Hibberts

The GI Academy will help them to build on their skills in gastroenterology, especially in endoscopy, said the trust. Nursing staff from all levels can join the academy, it said.

Nurses will be able to gain four awards through the academy with some of them contributing to an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Clinical Nursing Practice or Advanced Clinical Nursing Practice at Kings College London.

The academy’s partners include King’s College London, Dr Falk Pharma UK, Hollister, Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific Olympus and MacGregor Heatlhcare. All will provide workshops, support and mentoring for nursing staff.

Fiona Hibberts, consultant nurse and lead for the GI Academy, said: “The NHS needs more GI nurses as patient demand increases, and we currently see approximately 33,000 patient episodes per year. As a result, surgery and the needs of patients becomes increasingly complex.

“Through the GI Academy, we want to develop nurses at all stages of their career, pursue excellence in caring for our patients, and support our team,” she said. “This will not only help us ‘reach and keep’ staff, but will mean that our patients benefit from better and more informed care.”

Eileen Sills

Eileen Sills

Eileen Sills

Dame Eileen Sills, the trust’s chief nurse, added: “We are delighted to see the launch of the GI Academy here at St Thomas’ Hospital, and are keen to build on this great work.

“By developing our staff in this way we can encourage lifelong learning, develop specialist nursing care for patients, and support professional development for nurses at all levels,” she said.

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