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 practice development nurse in blood donation Hannah Perry.
When I was at school I wanted to be a librarian so I could read books all day – little did I know! My love of books is still with me but I spend my days very differently.
“I visit the blood donations teams regularly to support the nurses and the team”
I trained at the Royal Free Hospital and my career has taken me in varied directions – neuromedical, intensive care and trauma and burns nursing with both adult and paediatric patients. In between there were forays into new directions as a GP practice nurse and as a practice educator in pain management – nursing has opened many doors for me throughout my career.
I now work as a practice development nurse in blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant. I cover the East region of England and undertake national projects as well. My role is varied and involves supporting blood collection teams to identify and share best practice, gain and share learning from the wider NHS and external bodies and conduct research into blood donation practices.
I’ve delivered projects as varied as ensuring all sessions have the nurse in charge’s photos displayed, working with the lead nurse‐living donation to promote non‐directed altruistic living organ donation to running focus groups and developing actions plans with teams.
“I am continuously learning in this role and get to meet a wide variety of people from very different backgrounds”
I visit the blood donations teams regularly to support the nurses and the team. Together we conduct a Care Quality walk around which is based on the 15 steps challenge to highlight the teams good practice and where they could develop. I ensure I talk to donors to get their opinions and ideas on how we can improve. Any innovative ideas the teams have developed we encourage them to share as other teams often find it useful as well – no point hiding their light!
Another part of my role is to work with the Researchers at the University of Cambridge. NHS Blood and Transplant has already undertaken large studies in collaboration with them such as INTERVAL looking at how often blood donors can donate and COMPARE and are planning more. COMPARE involved 10 blood donation teams comparing five different methods of haemoglobin testing in 30,000 donors.
The teams were amazing in their ability to take on this additional project involving so many donors. My role was to co-ordinate between the teams and the researchers and pre‐empt and trouble shoot any issues from all parties involved.
“This is a challenging but rewarding role that requires resilience”
I developed many new skills and enjoyed the challenge of balancing meeting current needs of blood supply with gaining knowledge on best practice to keep our donors well. I am continuously learning in this role and get to meet a wide variety of people from very different backgrounds.
My career in NHS Blood and Transplant saw me joining them in 2004 as a tissue donor co‐ordinator working to facilitate tissue donation from deceased donors and promote and develop Tissue donation within my local hospitals.
Following this I was a specialist nurse for organ donation (SNOD). I was based in my local hospitals working alongside the hospital staff and clinical leads for donation to promote organ donation within the trusts.
SNODs provide staff and family support and aim to share best practice when caring for patients who may be organ donors. SNODs work on call to support donation throughout a region so I had the privilege to work with many nurses across the east region.
This is a challenging but rewarding role that requires resilience to ensure that donors and families wishes are met at a time of distress. Team work and support are the key. During this time NHS Blood and Transplant supported me in gaining a MSc alongside the numerous other learning opportunities they encourage you to take.
Working for NHS Blood and Transplant has provided me with a unique experience of nursing across transplantation and donation and I have had met many amazing families and donors who have all given the gift of life to others.
- This is the seventh 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
- Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Emma Green
- Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Anne Davidson
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.