NHS Blood and Transplant is a special health authority that provide a blood and transplantation service to the NHS, looking after blood donation services in England and transplant services across the UK. This week, we’re looking at the work of nurse practitioner Emma Green.
I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2007 and my first role as a qualified nurse was on an acute medical ward specialising in gastroenterology.
“I have had the opportunity to do things which I otherwise might not have done”
Three years later I moved into critical care, initially still as a staff nurse but eventually progressing to a sister’s post. I left critical care to pursue a career with NHSBT in 2016 and have been with the organisation ever since.
My current role is as a nurse practitioner with the therapeutic apheresis service (TAS) in Sheffield. We are one of eight NHS Blood and Transplant TAS units across England and we perform a range of procedures including peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collections, plasma exchanges and red cell exchanges.
At the Sheffield TAS unit, we treat both patients and donors for PBSC collections; patients are referred to us through Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and donors are referred via two of the UK stem cell registries.
Patients predominantly have PBSC collections as part of their treatment for lymphomas and myelomas; they have their cells harvested and then stored to be given back to them after they have had high doses of chemotherapy.
“It has been very rewarding to have students working with us and we have received positive feedback”
Donors come to us either via Anthony Nolan or the British Bone Marrow Registry and donate stem cells to unknown recipients they have been matched to anywhere in the world.
The plasma and red cell exchanges we perform are always to treat patients with a range of conditions, mostly neurological or haematological in nature. These patients get referred to us from any hospital within the South Yorkshire region and if they are too unstable to be transferred to Sheffield we will travel to the referring hospital to treat them.
All of the patients and donors we treat have to be accepted by our TAS consultant (or a covering TAS consultant from another area), who will prescribe a treatment plan for each patient referred.
In addition to this, we also provide an on-call service to provide cover 24/7 for patients who present with serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as sickle cell crisis or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).
“As this was the first time I had ever presented at a conference the experience was both terrifying and exhilarating”
All of the TAS units provide this service and at Sheffield we share our on-call with the unit at Leeds to ensure there is always a nurse practitioner available for the whole Yorkshire region.
Again, any referrals have to be accepted by the TAS consultant on-call but as a nurse practitioner there is a great deal of autonomy involved in actually going out and treating the patient.
Since joining NHS Blood and Transplant I have had the opportunity to attend conferences and study days, which not only develop my knowledge base but also promote networking with colleagues in other TAS units and the wider NHS Blood and Transplant organisation.
In 2016 I was invited to present at the British Blood Transfusion Society conference in Harrogate, following an earlier abstract submission. The presentation was focused on describing the journey that our PBSC donors go through from initially being matched to a recipient to actually donating their stem cells. As this was the first time I had ever presented at a conference the experience was both terrifying and exhilarating!
Another opportunity I have had since working for NHSBT has been my role in the student nurse programme we now offer. I completed my mentorship training in 2009 and have supervised both students and preceptors throughout my career, however, when I first joined NHS Blood and Transplant we did not offer any placements to nursing students, as there was a concern that the environment was too ‘specialist’ to enable students to get involved.
Then, in 2017 we piloted a student nurse programme in Sheffield and we are now on our third intake of students since July 2017. The students are generally on placement with NHS Blood and Transplant for two to three weeks and spend time in TAS, blood donation, organ donation and the laboratories.
I am the placement lead for the Sheffield students as they spend most about half of their placement on the TAS unit. It has been very rewarding to have students working with us and we have received positive feedback about the programme so far.
I really enjoy working for NHS Blood and Transplant and I have had the opportunity to do things which I otherwise might not have done. As such, I think this has made me more confident in my own skills and abilities, both due to the autonomy the role demands and the support and encouragement received from colleagues within the organisation.
- This is the fifth in a series of blogs from the nursing team at NHS Blood and Transplant. Read earlier articles in the series here:
- Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Ben Cole
- Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Marion Jones
- Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Angela Ditchfield
- Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Andrea Harris
NHS Blood and Transplant is a special health authority that provide a blood and transplantation service to the NHS, looking after blood donation services in England and transplant services across the UK. This includes managing the donation, storage and transplantation of blood, organs, tissues, bone marrow and stems cells, and researching new treatments and processes. Find out more about nursing careers at NHS Blood and Transplant.