A one day diary by Maria Pettman, Colorectal Nurse Consultant

Posted 17 April 2018 in

Maria Pettman is 49 and works as a Nurse Consultant in Nottingham and Derby. She has 2 grown up children and lives in North Derbyshire with her husband and 2 dogs.

I wake up between 6.30 and 7.00 a.m. If I am on a late shift the first thing I do is an hour of yoga. If I have an early shift I will have breakfast then go directly to work, my session of yoga will have to wait until the evening.

I have several key components to my role, they are lower Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, including screening and therapeutic endoscopy, Colorectal outpatient clinics seeing target, routine and follow up patients, facilitating our direct to test pathways and leading a team of Gastrointestinal Nurse Specialists in Nottingham. I am also training Lead for a private healthcare provider in Nottingham who run the Nottingham Diagnostic Treatment Centre predominantly treating NHS patients. My passion is performing colonoscopy. I have been scoping since 1999 and love every minute of this work. I have trained numerous clinicians over the years both nurses and doctors and endeavour to ensure that the highest standards are met in my teams practice and by my trainees.

I completed my RGN training at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckingham, where I remained for a couple of years after qualifying, working on a general surgical ward but treating mainly colorectal and urology patients.  I then spent 18 months travelling in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. During this time, I was lucky enough to find agency work in remote parts of Australia working with the indigenous communities. I gained much insight into a very different and fascinating way of life and developed a new respect for the integral part nature plays in our health and wellbeing.

On my return to the UK, I moved to Nottingham and started work in an acute oncology unit. I was there for 6 years and completed my oncology diploma as well as becoming a junior sister.  When the job of Colorectal Nurse Practitioner was advertised at our neighbouring hospital, I jumped at the opportunity, it seemed the perfect job to combine my colorectal and oncology experience together with new skills and training. I was appointed to the role and spent the next few years learning how to perform lower GI endoscopy and managing patients’ lower GI conditions and disease. I then went to manage a large team of Colorectal Nurse Specialists as well as running my own independent endoscopy lists and outpatient clinics. In addition to my practical training, I also completed an MSc in Advanced Nurse Practice and the Nurse Prescribing course.

These days I work full time but across two sites. My typical day will be a four-hour endoscopy list, a quick lunch and then a four-hour outpatient clinic. Remaining hours will be spent doing my clinical admin, ie results letters, patient queries, vetting referrals for outpatients and endoscopy. I meet regularly with my team and discuss clinical issues as well as training opportunities and ways in which we can improve our practice by carrying out studies and audit. Time is also allocated in facilitating training for the endoscopy trainees at the Nottingham Treatment centre. As nurse Consultant, my role is also to update, review and rewrite specific guidelines, competencies etc

My most memorable work moment

Getting the job as a Colorectal Nurse Practitioner at QMC back in 1999. I had always wanted to be a Colorectal Nurse Specialist and I was truly honoured to be appointed to the role and to have worked with such an outstanding Colorectal team.

The worst part of my job

Telling a patient they have cancer. I must have done it hundreds of times but the process never fails to humble me and touch me emotionally.

The best part of my job

Completing a normal colonoscopy on a patient who is a cancer survivor. I also love seeing my trainees’ complete their endoscopy training and fly solo, it’s a very rewarding feeling.

After work…if I didn’t do yoga in the morning I will do my hour yoga when I get home. I am also a yoga teacher so I also have classes to run locally. I very rarely watch T.V but do enjoy a hearty evening meal and a good chat with my husband. Later on, I might read for a while then I sleep like a baby.