Potential for development of haemophilia link nurse role within UK hospitals


Correspondence: Claire Forrester, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Newcastle Road, Newcastle Under Lyme, Stoke On Trent ST4 6QG, UK.

Tel.: 01782 672578; fax: 01782 672601;

e-mail: claire.forrester@uhns.nhs.uk


Link nurses are practising nurses with an expressed interest in a given specialty, with formal links to clinical nurse specialists and other specialist staff. The role involves attending meetings to discuss ideas and new developments, and relaying findings to other ward nurses to improve their practice. Such nurses are common in many specialties such as diabetes and tissue viability. In haemophilia, the role has the potential to enhance the care of haemophilia patients on general hospital wards. In April 2012, a focus group of five haemophilia nurses was convened to discuss their experiences of ‘link nurse’ programmes within district general hospitals and the potential value of developing the haemophilia link nurse role, and to consider the materials needed to support such role development. It was agreed to test whether other haemophilia nurses perceived such a need by means of a short five-item questionnaire devised by the group and made available to all members of the UK's Haemophilia Nurse's Association via Survey-Monkey. Final responses from 59 haemophilia nurses across the UK have been analysed. Most nurses agreed that there was value in the development of a haemophilia link nurse role within UK hospitals and thought their trusts would support it. While barriers and potential downsides were acknowledged, this was seen as a useful way of sharing information and knowledge with colleagues from different specialties and of raising awareness of bleeding disorders among the general nursing community. Haemophilia nurses should coordinate the development of a Haemophilia Link Nurse training and education pack.