By Clara Caslin
Angela Mullen is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease specialist nurse in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. She began her nursing in Mercy Hospital, School of Nursing in Cork and then attended the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.
|Angela Mullen at a photo call for a campaign for IBD nurses to be doubled in 2018.|
What is your role?
My role is an IBD specialist nurse. I manage the IBD service, which includes inpatient and outpatient support education and advice. Most of my patients are managed at home. I run an advice email and telephone service, attend outpatient clinics and arrange urgent clinical review and also coordinate all Biological, immunosuppression therapies and educate re all medical treatments.
How many patients do you have?
I have over 1500 patients and growing rapidly.
Are you the only IBD nurse in the Mater?
I am the only IBD nurse.
Do you see more cases of Crohns or Colitis?
We see a little more Colitis than Crohns patients (but not much).
What symptoms do people with IBD have?
Symptoms vary, classically its frequency of bowel motions worse in the mornings or at night with watery diarrhoea bleeding urgency and mucus. Sometimes just pain with altered bowel habit either constipation or diarrhoea not always with blood or mucus.
Do you think we need more IBD nurses in Ireland?
We definitely need more IBD Nurses, the patient’s with IBD Need access to care (sometimes rapid) and unfortunately in some practices they don’t have that.
How severe can some cases be?
The severest of cases can be life threatening.
Do you think more people are having surgery or is medication able to "fix" a bad flare?
Medications can certainly treat a bad flare but with the unpredictability of the disease this sometime is not enough and surgery might be the only option totally dependent on the case.
Have you seen an increase in cases of IBD over the years?
Definitely an increase and more aggressive.
How young and old have you seen patients been diagnosed?
I work in adult services but have diagnosed patients at 16-17 and at the other end in their 70’s.
Is every case different?
No two cases really are the same everyone is different. We follow international guidelines on managements and escalations of treatments but every case is individual .
Photo Credit: Fingal Independent