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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 18

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NURSES ARE THE HEARTBEAT

NURSES ARE THE HEARTBEAT OF HEALTHCARE MSWA BRAND AND COMMUNICATIONS TEAM DIGESTING SCIENCE LOU HATTER, MSWA NURSE MANAGER AND HOSPITAL LIAISON NURSE Denise Menzies is one the first faces a newly diagnosed MS patient will see, so it’s great that she has a soft and reassuring voice, and a warm smile that would calm most people! Dee, as she’s known to her colleagues, has been working at MSWA for eight years and says it was pure luck that she started working for the organisation after ten years in the British healthcare system. Dee is an MSWA Hospital Liaison Nurse and is highly knowledgeable and experienced with MS. Her role is an essential part of the MS journey and she provides invaluable support and specialist clinical advice to people with MS. Dee sees MSWA Members as patients in hospitals, outpatient clinics and in community settings. She acts as a primary contact for people presenting with MS and provides support on hospital wards and in MS clinics. She is passionate about improving quality of life, educating and empowering people with neurological conditions. “Being diagnosed with MS can be an emotional and overwhelming experience, usually followed by shock. My role is to support them on this long journey, answer their questions and teach them how to live well with their condition,” Dee said. The treatments for MS have seen many new developments over the past 10 years and MS Nurses have also evolved over this time. Dee said “working for MSWA means you’re a part of a multidisciplinary team, with access to a wide range of allied health services, and this supports us to provide holistic care. We try to keep Members out of hospital if possible because many aspects of MS can be managed in the community which prevents both unnecessary admissions and ensures that any additional stress is reduced.” Dee explains that every person’s journey with MS is different and being able to build a rapport with someone after they receive their diagnosis is her first priority. “I explain what MS is, what the diagnosis means for them and focus on what they’re feeling. We’re there to support them and they’re usually concerned with how it’s going to affect them on a day to day basis, and the future.” “Nurses are a vital contributor to improving the physical and mental health and overall wellbeing of our community. It’s important to acknowlege and recognise the time we as nurses dedicate to supporting people who are going through an extrmely vulnerbale time in their lives,” she said. Dee is just one of 32 MSWA Nurses who are supporting people with MS and other neurological conditions. Digesting Science is an award-winning UK program teaching young children about multiple sclerosis. The Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) Engagement and Enterprise Awards 2017 recognize outstanding achievements in public engagement, academic enterprise, student enterprise and public relations across Queen Mary University of London. Digesting Science is an educational service that provides a set of activities that teach children aged 6-12 years old, who have a parent with multiple sclerosis, about the science behind this chronic disease. The activities were co-designed with Bart’s Hospital MS researchers, clinicians and nurses, families with MS, designers and a drama teacher. The Bart’s MS team have been running Digesting Science events in and around London since 2013; communicating their research through practical activities involving modelling clay, food modelling and games to their patients and their families. This year they have been able to run training programs for ambassadors to take this award-winning program further afield. I was lucky enough to be able to join the first training course in May of this year. The course is very inventive, looking at different symptoms in MS, treatments and prevention in a fun and informative way. For more information on the program and how it is set up visit the Digesting Science website at: http://digestingscience.co.uk/ I would now like to run a pilot program in WA to see how well it is received by our Members and their children. The workshop for Parents with MS and their child(ren) lasts for three hours. It will be held in the July school holidays, venue to be confirmed, spaces are limited so if you would like more information please contact me via email on louise. hatter@mswa.org.au From the latest Bart’s newsletter: our first Digesting Science ambassadors graduate Lou Hatter pictured bottom left We had a fantastic time earlier this month training up our first set of ambassadors. Digesting Science ambassadors will be working to spread the word about Digesting Science. They’ll encourage more events in their area and let others know just how easy it is to run an event. Over two days, ambassadors learned how the kits were developed and some of the latest scientific research behind each of the activities. They met members of the Bart’s-MS team, as well as people who had attended events themselves, and the Digesting Science team. We were lucky to have a creative and enthusiastic group for our first ambassadors, and we look forward to seeing how they can move the project forward in their area. Special thanks to ALL our ambassadors from far and wide (Australia, Turkey, Israel, America, Western Isles, London, Southampton, Derby and Sussex). And to our lovely mums who came along to share their experiences with the trainees. 20 | MSWA BULLETIN WINTER 2018 MSWA BULLETIN WINTER 2018 | 21

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