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Nurse’s osteo dissertation to be published after record pass mark

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“I was panicking, I thought I had failed” said the nurse who received her dissertation results two weeks later to her peers because it was so good that the university wanted it to be published.

Becky Gear, 32, an osteoporosis specialist nurse from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is due to have her dissertation published after she received 98% for her study.

“My grade was the only one that wasn’t released and so I was thinking what’s wrong with it?”

Becky Gear

The nurse who completed a further degree in nursing studies will also receive an additional award from the University of Derby for the highest-ever mark for her work on “medication compliance within osteoporotic women”.

The dissertation looked specifically at “causes of non-compliance and non-adherence in osteoporotic women.” Ms Gear explained how she investigated different uses of medications and how to improve compliance by analysing and scrutinising previous studies.

As she waited nervously for her results to come through, Ms Gear was just hoping for a pass of 40%. She said: “There was a lot of work for the dissertation so when I handed it in, I was relieved. I would have been quite happy just to get the 40% pass mark.

“My grade was the only one that wasn’t released and so I was thinking what’s wrong with it? But it turned out it was because they wanted to publish it and so they were having it checked by senior markers,” she said.

“The University of Derby are very keen and said that they want to work with me to get it all published,” said Ms Gear, adding that when she was informed her reaction was one of “disbelief”.

Before her research began, the nurse was already aware that compliance with medication to help prevent further bone loss was poor.

“There are different ways of having it, daily, weekly or monthly. And compliance is extremely poor with daily” said Ms Gear.

“The main focus was education and the main way to improve compliance is to do follow ups and education”

Becky Gear

Working as an osteoporosis nurse day-in day-out, she decided to explore reviews on how to treat patients who may forget their medication daily and found that perhaps putting them on a monthly tablet would be more appropriate.

“The main focus was education and the main way to improve compliance is to do follow ups and education,” she added.

Ms Gear’s dissertation also explored how keeping in constant contact with your patient, ensuring they feel comfortable talking to you and looking to see if the medication fits with their lifestyle could also help with compliance.

Being her first published piece, she said she hoped her dissertation will go into the osteoporosis review and osteoporosis journal.

As a full-time nurse, with a baby at home this was Ms Gear’s last dissertation having completed previous modules in mentorship, palliative care, legal and ethics and medicine management.

“I quite enjoyed the breadth of subjects that was covered, and the chance to return back to university and further my knowledge,” she said. “With it being distance learning, it was also a new way to study.”

Her hopes for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are for continued improvement in osteoporosis management and the implementation of a fracture liaison service to try and identify patients who have sustained low trauma fractures and reduce the risk of hip fractures in the future.

Ms Gear, who lives in Dereham and is registered blind is also a volunteer for Guide Dogs, has been at QEH since last September, having previously worked in West Norfolk for Care UK as part of the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group. She is due to graduate on Friday, 20 July.

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