Specialist inflammatory bowel disease nursing in the UK: current situation and future proofing.

To determine the impact to date of the ongoing Crohn's & Colitis UK inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) clinical nurse specialists (CNS) campaign.A survey-based design was used. 2 questionnaires were sent to the UK IBD nursing community and promoted via nursing and clinical networks. Respondents were asked to provide data at both an individual and trust level about their nursing services.394 IBD CNS posts were identified across the UK, with a 32% increase in posts since the start of the campaign. 27% felt the campaign had been influential in securing new posts. Greater numbers of posts were reported in England when compared with the devolved nations. Most services remain below the UK standards recommendation of 2.5 IBD CNS per 250 000 patient population. Cross site working was reported in 59% of services. 45% of respondents were non-medical prescribers, with 13% educated to MSc level. High levels of stress were reported by IBD CNS associated with managing advice line services.Crohn's & Colitis UK's 'More IBD Nurses-Better Care' campaign has contributed to the numbers of CNS posts in IBD continuing to rise, but they remain lower than the recommended standard of 2.5 IBD CNS per 250 000. Educational and career pathways are not clearly defined, and aspects of the role such as advice line provision contribute to stress within the workforce. The ongoing aims of the charity campaign hope to address these issues by improving access to formal education pathways with peer support for IBD specialist nurses, and advice line training, in addition to supporting trusts and services throughout the UK to reduce the workforce deficit with effective business cases.


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Authors: Lisa Younge, Isobel Mason, Rukshana Kapasi