Sarah Marshall is the Clinical Programme Manager for the Bowel Cancer Screening centre at St Mark’s Hospital in North West London. She is also the lead nurse for JAG, Chair of the BSGNA, and sits as a representative on the BSG endoscopy committee.
What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?
When I was a student nurse, I did a placement in a day surgery where endoscopy took place and actually thought at the time it was really boring and certainly didn’t want to do that as a career! However, when I became a qualified nurse there was an opportunity to undertake a secondment post in an inpatient endoscopy service and it combined undertaking some endocrinology day cases. I had already undertaken an 18 month medical ward rotation and at the time was an E grade/senior staff nurse on a medical assessment unit. I thought this opportunity would help me develop additional knowledge, skill, and experiences. I was always interested in trying and experiencing new things so thought I would give it a go as it would be something else to learn about. It would also help me understand the needs of patients who required access to these services as an inpatient. After a year or so of being in this post, I saw an advert for a junior sister in endoscopy at St Mark’s hospital (F grade in old school talk). It looked interesting and offered different and additional opportunities. I applied and was successful for the post and I’ve been a part of St Mark’s hospital in many roles ever since.
What advancement in gastroenterology/hepatology are you most excited about and why?
The introduction and development of JAG – Joint Advisory Group on GI endoscopy. I’ve been a nurse in endoscopy pre JAG accreditation. JAG has made such a difference by contributing to improving patient safety and training of the workforce. JAG is the basis for defining quality and standards in endoscopy offering consistency & continuous improvement. Improving patient care and ensuring patients receive high quality consistent care is fundamental and I am honoured and excited to be a part of it.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Finding solutions, tackling issues, supporting the workforce, and giving them opportunities to develop . If the end result is a happy (safe) patient and happy (well trained and educated) workforce, then I feel I’ve done my job to a satisfactory level.
What is the one thing you would change?
NHS processes. Make things more streamlined and simple. Don’t overcomplicate things. Let clinicians and nurses lead their own services. Give them the resources to do their job (I think that’s maybe more than one but it’s a big problem to change).
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
Take every opportunity presented to you. Go and see everything you can when given the chance. The next best advice was applying for the BSG mentorship programme and being paired with a truly inspiring role model and leader – a nurse paired with a consultant gastroenterologist, who would have thought!
What does being a BSG member mean to you?
It’s a specialist network of all those with a passion for gastroenterology. For nurses, it’s representing and being part of a specialist workforce. Ensuring we support those in gastroenterology, hopefully inspiring others to join gastroenterology, and representing the gastro nurse and their specialist professional role. There are many opportunities. These include being part of a committee, participating in BSG events, accessing resources, and the availability of the mentorship programme.