Meet Caroline Tapec McLachlan


Caroline is a Senior Sister at St. Mark’s Hospital in London.

What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?

It was actually by accident! After completing my BSc in Nursing, I wanted to work in different specialties. When I started in endoscopy, I learned that there is so much to explore within gastroenterology/hepatology. It was here that I realised I was surrounded with talented and inspiring nurses so I decided to stay.

What advancement in gastroenterology/hepatology are you most excited about and why?

Artificial intelligence - using technology to help with diagnosis. There are of course limitations/consequences but I am interested in seeing how it can benefit the workforce and patients.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My team deals with 2WW UGI & LGI referrals, so time is a crucial factor for us. My team and I have to organise endoscopy and radiology procedures within such a short time frame and with challenges such as booking, interpreter requirements, communication with patients and their carers and GPs etc. so there are many aspects to juggle. The fast pace and being able to accomplish something in a short amount of time is satisfying.

What is the one thing you would change?

National guidelines such as cancer waiting times. I understand the premise, but I find that targets become the focus and patients’ wishes become secondary. I think it’s very important to make time to have a discussion with patients about different options, what happens once initiated, and ask how they would like to be involved. I feel that sometimes the focus is shifted to meeting targets rather than holistically caring for the patient.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?

“Collect role models as you go along”.

A mentor of mine as a student nurse told me this and at the time I didn’t really recognise how important this advice was until I completed my studies and worked as a nurse. Yes, you learn from studying and post-graduate courses, but I think role models are better at teaching us positive or negative behaviour(s) which will ultimately shape our practice. My list of role models is short but I feel that they help me become a better nurse.

What does being a BSG member mean to you?

I am new to the BSG as I only joined this year. The main driving force for this was because I wanted to represent nurses. I hear my colleagues talk about the BSG but not many topics include or are relevant to nurses. In endoscopy alone, a significant proportion of the workforce is nurses, yet there is noticeable limited nurse representation and interaction with the BSG. I am hoping that by becoming involved myself, I will be able to encourage my fellow nurses to engage in organisations such as the BSG. One of the areas I am really interested in is mentoring. The BSG is also a great way to interact with colleagues in the same field. It’s a great way to learn from each other and share expertise.