Charlotte Rutter is a Consultant Gastroenterologist (Intestinal Failure, Intestinal & Multivisceral Transplant) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, as well as a past Chair of the BSG Trainee Section, and is the current BSG Workforce Lead.
What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?
I knew I wanted to be a hospital specialist and initially trained in general surgery. After 18 months I finally accepted that I was not as hungry for operating as I should be, which felt wrong if I wanted to pursue a career in surgery. Deciding what I was going to do instead was an important part of my decision making. I knew then I wanted to be a gastroenterologist and that gave me the courage to change training programmes. Gastroenterology combines my interest in the GI tract and nutrition along with being a craft specialty that satisfies my enjoyment of practical procedures and therapeutics. It is a diverse multi-organ specialty, managing complex acute and chronic disease as well as critically unwell patients. I am now an intestinal failure and transplant physician which feels like I’ve come full circle.
What advancement in gastroenterology/hepatology are you most excited about and why?
Intestinal transplant is an exciting and fast developing area and over time, it may be considered as an alternative to HPN in selected patients with intestinal failure. The patients we look after are often the most complex and sickest in the hospital and I have learned to expect the unexpected. Whilst the intestinal transplant journey is often a roller-coaster, it is very special to enable patients to become nutritionally autonomous, eat and drink again, and regain the pleasures and freedoms lost as a consequence of intestinal failure. There are also exciting developments in peptide growth factors to improve intestinal adaptation, as well as “growing new bowels”.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Working as part of an MDT, developing long-term relationships and getting to know patients, along with supporting them to live their life to the full. Whether that be on parenteral nutrition or post intestinal transplant. I also enjoy the relationships I have developed with other nutrition support healthcare professionals around the UK – we are a small community!
What is the one thing you would change?
Get rid of the red tape.
What’s been the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
What does being a BSG member mean to you?
I have been involved with the BSG since I was a trainee. I was a regional representative and then Chair of the Trainees Section. I developed lasting relationships with fellow trainees around the country, gained a wider perspective on the issues facing trainees nationally, and was able to lead on strategies to highlight and address these. My fellow committee members are now all consultants and it is a pleasure to keep in touch with them. I am now the BSG Workforce lead and very grateful for the support and enthusiasm of senior members of the Society over the last 10 years.
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