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Louise Marsland

Louise Marsland is a Paediatric Nurse Specialist leading and developing a new Children and Young People’s (CYP) Integrated Bladder and Bowel service in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In this guest blog, Louise gives an overview of her role and why the post was created. 

'Serendipity' – the gift of finding valuable things not sought after.

In the modern world we might call it “cash in the attic!” When I found the post as a children’s and young people’s (CYP) continence adviser I was not looking for a job in this specialism. It has however, turned out to be a serendipitous position. I have worked as a nurse in the NHS for 34 years and 25 of these have been as a health visitor, so moving into a new specialism could have been potentially difficult. The challenge was to set up a new innovative CYP service in continence. Firstly, I am NOT an incontinent nurse and it is NOT an incontinence service! So where did I start? As Alice in Wonderland would say “ at the beginning!”

Why the post was created 

The post was created due to parent pressure on the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide a children’s continence service. A parent questionnaire in Newcastle revealed that the current level of service was not meeting the needs of children with continence issues. I was led by a forward-thinking matron from the Children's Community Nurse (CCN) service and CCG who did not want a paediatric nurse specialist who did “pad clinics” or was the “nappy lady” but who wanted a fully integrated CYP continence service in line with national guidelines

Challenge and reward 

My role is very different than I expected at interview and has been extremely challenging at times but the most rewarding at others. There has been a huge learning curve for me in the past year and many lessons learnt. Following a bottom up approach (pardon the pun) which is parent/carer led and a parent/carer focused service means that the delivery of the service is fit for purpose. Making mistakes is OK as it often leads to an improvement in practice and hopefully in continence it isn’t a medical emergency!

There has been a huge learning curve for me in the past year and many lessons learnt. 

A work in progress

Developing a fully integrated bladder and bowel service is not easy and it is still work in progress. Education of all health care professionals, parents/carers, schools, voluntary sector and children’s social care is paramount in the success of the service. The highlight of the year has been the development of the parent presentation pack on “Healthy Bladder and Bowels” which we hope to launch nationally later this year

Sharing my journey

I hope that during my workshop at the ERIC conference in October I can share my journey, the ups and downs and why now I am beginning to understand how we shape a CYP continence Service fit for the future. I look forward to meeting you there!

Book your place at ERIC's 2018 conference.