Greta Lyons, Clinical Research Facility, Cambridge

I am an Endocrine Research Nurse working in a small multi-disciplinary team with aims of improving standards of care to patients (adults and children) with rare Resistance to Thyroid Hormone Alpha (RTHα) and Resistance to thyroid hormone Beta (RTHβ). Our team is involved both nationally and internationally in the care of these patients. As part of this process, I am required to have an in-depth knowledge of RTH. I visit patients in their homes and within other hospital environments in order to give families and patients flexibility, particularly if they are unable to travel great distances. This also allows equity of access to the service for all patients with RTH. My paediatric and health visiting qualifications complements the skills required for this. My ultimate goal is to have an adaptable, collaborative working relationship with families and their local teams.

Over the last year, the Endocrine nurses’ module has been in the process of being validated and will run at a new institution in the future. In order to move forward with my knowledge, I attended two different symposia, using part of my award that has relevance to our patients with RTHα and RTHβ. I plan to use the remainder of the money, from the award, to go towards the paediatric endocrine module when this is established.

I attended a fantastic symposium on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Liverpool which was run by the ADHD foundation itself. I deliberately targeted this meeting as it was a very practical session for teachers, support workers, volunteers, and medical professionals. I was able to hear how children, their families and adults are affected by this condition and learn various methods to support them both at home and in the classroom.

The second area that I was keen to focus on was Dyspraxia. I was able to attend an equally fantastic course run by the Dyspraxia Foundation in Manchester. This again was a course to inform parents, teachers, support staff, volunteers and health professionals in the best strategies in supporting families and adults with this condition.

Whilst both courses allowed me to glean a wealth of information and help for my patient leaflet, I was struck by the absolute determination and commitment of all attendees to provide the best care they were able to for their families.

Going forward I am now in the process of constructing a useful leaflet for our patients. I will also be developing a leaflet to help parents explain what thyroid hormone does to their child and how the condition of RTH can affect the individual. I believe this is a way of helping to improve communication, care and support for this patient group.

Due to the publicity of the award I have been invited to speak at British Thyroid Foundation patient support group meetings. I have not only enjoyed the audience/patient participation but it has given me a platform to inform people of our continued work here with our patients.

I am extremely grateful for the support from the British Thyroid Foundation and the Evelyn Ashley Smith award to have given me the opportunity to develop my knowledge in order for me to influence and strengthen the nursing and clinical care for our patients.