Meet Shaila Kumar


Shaila is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Biofeedback and Nerve Stimulation at St Mark’s Hospital in London.

What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?

My journey with the NHS began in 2003. My experience with Gastroenterology began in 2007 in an Endoscopy department in Bristol. I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside my Master’s. I wanted to become a Nurse Colonoscopist. I continued working in Endoscopy after I moved to London in 2009. Different roles opened up and I took up the various opportunities, including Specialist Screening Practitioner for Bowel Cancer Screening, Health Improvement Specialist, and my current role as Clinical Biofeedback Specialist. Each role has been so diverse and uplifting.

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

Nurses and AHP getting more involved and realising there is opportunity beyond clinical areas. We are role models, venturing into research, influencing decision, and making policies. At St Mark’s Frontiers 2020 Congress, we even had a surgical practitioner as a Robotic nurse. Most of the registered associations that included only medical doctors have started recognising nursing/AHP members e.g BSG Nursing and SWiG. The future is very promising.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My clinics are my most favourite part of the job. I work with the pelvic floor, and understanding and rehabilitating the physiology of these muscles and their impact on G.I symptoms is very fascinating. Helping people achieve a controlled bowel and bladder and giving them a better quality of life is most satisfying. Talking about bowels and bladders is stigmatic and traumatising, but having someone who understands the impact of incontinence on an individual rather than just viewing it as symptoms is rewarding.

What is the one thing you would change?

I would want more AHP and nurses to spread their wings, not just stay comfortable in their roles, and for them to get more support and confidence in order to venture into more advanced roles, as well as empower them to reach their potential. 2020 has been recognised as the Year of the Nurse, and we will persist every year.

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

My two best pieces of advice have come from wise patients:

A CEO of a reputed company, had his world crumble when he had stroke. During our chat, he said “You are disposable at work, your health & family should be your priority”.

An elderly lady once said “A small piece of dirt on the white shirt is noticed first than the bigger white background”. No matter how good I am, just a tiny speck ruins all the good deeds.

What does being a BSG member mean to you?

The year 2020 has been a great year productivity-wise with lots of opportunity. As a committee member for BSG Nursing, I can support, motivate, and encourage my colleagues. I feel more involved and have the opportunity to represent, as well as the acknowledgement that my voice is being heard. Being a SWiG committee representative, I believe I am on the right track in supporting women in gastroenterology. I am here to give my best.

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