March 2019

Women In Cardiology

On 8th March 2019 people all over the world celebrated International Women’s Day.

It has been observed annually since the early 1900s and is a chance to celebrate the achievements of women as well as promoting equality between men and women.

Historically, science-based subjects have been a male-dominated environment. However, science advancing at a rapid pace and if potential talent is underutilised or inadequately cultivated due to gender inequality, this poses a major challenge not only to women, but to science in general. There has been progress in reducing the gender disparities in medicine over recent years however, there remains an under-representation of women within some sectors such as cardiology. As such, we have interviewed several women who work within the cardiology sector.

Who, within your sector has been your most influential female role model?

Registrar: “It’s difficult to pick just one! I have the privilege of working with several highly talented and dedicated female cardiologists but if I have to single someone out, Dr Clare Appleby, Consultant Interventionalist has taught me, not just clinically, but has demonstrated on a daily basis, that’s it’s possible to achieve whatever you want to, through hard work and perseverance.”

Research Nurse: “There are several Advanced Nurse Practitioners who I find influential within the Trust – they do a fantastic job!”

What, if any, are the current challenges for women in cardiology?

Registrar: “Generally speaking, women tend to organise family life/school life and juggling that with a demanding career, though not insurmountable, is difficult. Sadly there is still a minority who think that if you choose to take time out of work to have children or work less than full time, then you’re less committed to the specialty. Overcoming this misconception is difficult and many women have to work harder than their male counterparts to bridge this ignorant gap.”

Research Fellow: “The main challenge is the perception amongst trainees of both genders that a career in cardiology is not compatible with a good home life. Certainly, there is the potential to work as much as you like within this diverse specialty, but trainees should be made aware that there are also plenty of opportunities for flexible working."

How do you think cardiology, and science in general, will change over the next 5-10 years?

Research Fellow: “Now we are seeing more women entering medical school, I hope senior positions in medicine will see more women rising to the top. This could be helped by mentoring schemes and recruitment initiatives that promote and encourage women to take up senior roles within a medical specialty.”

Registrar: “I am hopeful that the new laws surrounding organ donation will increase the numbers of donor hearts available so that patients with end-stage heart failure will have a more realistic chance of a transplant.”

Research Nurse: “I think more women will be taking up influential posts within this field and think this will be achievable, but it may be closer to the 10-year point.”

Consultant: “Personalised medicine is now a real possibility - we are all unique and should have a tailor-made approach to our health care. In the coming years this will be routine rather than exceptional.”

What advice would you give a woman looking into a career in cardiology?

Research Fellow: “My advice to potential trainees would be don’t be put off by the current perception that a career in cardiology is not compatible with a fulfilling home life. This is simply not the case and we should be careful not to perpetuate this view.”

Research Nurse: “If it is your goal, don’t give up!”

Registrar: “Go for it! Cardiology is a fantastic specialty and if you’re prepared to work hard for what you love then you will go far. If I had my time again, I would still choose cardiology, but I would be more organised, plan further in advance and reach out to other women in the same position who are juggling work/home/children etc.”

February 2019

Sharing best practice through the ICMS.

At the start of 2019, three nurses from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital visited Harefield Hospital to learn more about their Photo at Discharge programme alongside discussing surveillance processes, surgical site infections and quality improvement initiatives. Photo at Discharge was developed by health professionals and provides patients and carers with a practical, simple tool for use between acute and community care. Furthermore, it provides an unambiguous baseline as to whether the surgical wound is improving or deteriorating and a legible, documented full assessment of the surgical wound.

Melissa Rochon, Quality & Safety Lead for Surveillance at Harefield Hospital, helped develop the Photo at Discharge programme said “It was terrific to have Julie, Nichola and Sam visit Harefield – getting together was a great opportunity to share practices and innovation, as well as lay plans for collaborating on research and quality improvement projects”.

Service development is a key theme within the ICMS. The ICMS enables staff to share best practice and learn from each other both within and between Trusts. Julie Tyrer, Tissue Viability Nurse at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital said “visiting other Hospitals and looking at other systems and processes can be a valuable learning opportunity”. She continued, “I am always inspired to come back and review local practice, trying to think innovatively of ways to develop practice and improve patient outcomes. It can highlight areas where improvements could be made locally and a chance to share each other’s areas of best practice”.

November 2018

ICMS Annual Symposium 2018

Thank you to all those who attended the recent ICMS Annual Symposium at the Royal College of Physicians, London.

The day consisted of talks from clinicians and nurses from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital discussing. Topics covered were wide ranging and included subjects such as skills training in cardiac pacing to electrophysiology research update, cardiomyopathy, and cardio-oncology to name a few. The guest lecture of the day was from Dr Ed Conley, Chief Scientific Officer at AIMES, Liverpool gave an insightful talk on the use of health informatics research within the UK. The day was rounded off by Professor Greg Lip and Professor Tom Luscher providing their developments and aspirations both at Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. 

The day was a great success and we look forward to welcoming you to the ICMS Annual Symposium 2019!

October 2018

Dr Babu-Narayan of the Royal Brompton Hospital appointed Associate Medical Director for British Heart Foundation.

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London, has been appointed the Associate Medical Director for the British Heart Foundation

Dr Babu-Narayan is internationally recognised for her research to improve the care and quality of life of adults who were born with congenital heart disease. In Dr Babu-Narayan’s new role as Associate Medical Director she will provide leadership and strategic direction to the mission of the Britsih Heart Foundation. She will work together with the existing Associate Medical Directors, Professor Jeremy Pearson and Professor Metin Avkiran whilst continuing both her clinical and research activity at Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College London.


September 2018

The ICMS features in the Cardiovascular Reseach 2018 Handbook published by The British Journal of Cardiology.

Professor John Pepper OBE, cardiothoracic surgeon of the Royal Brompton Hospital, has written an article summarising the work of the ICMS in the Cardiovascular Research 2018 Handbook.

The handbook is for current and future medical researchers and seeks to introduce the research landscape in the UK. The handbook discusses research within academic institutions, healthcare organisations, charities and industry and the collaborations and partnerships that exist between different sectors, including the sharing of big data.

August 2018

HEAT PPCI: an NIHR research highlight of the last 70 years

The HEAT PPCI study was published by The Lancet in 2015 and is the largest trial of its kind in cardiovascular medicine. The study investigated the routine use of heparin rather than bivalirudin and concluded that heparin could improve outcomes for heart attack patients, while at the same time significantly reducing costs for healthcare organisations globally. The National Institue for Health Research (NIHR) has named the HEAT PPCI study as one of the most important research discoveries of the past 70 years.

To tie in with the NHS’s 70th birthday, the NIHR's I Am Research campaign is celebrating how research has improved health and care over the past 70 years and how NIHR research is helping to shape the future. The NIHR is showcasing 70 discoveries that have transformed the way the NHS works and outcomes for patients, drawn from the suggestions of experts from across the NIHR.

July 2018

Dr Fairbairn accepted onto the first cohort of the NWC CRN Research Scholars Programme

Dr Timothy Fairbairn , Consultant Cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, has been accepted onto the initial cohort of the NIHR Research Scholars Programme. The Research Scholars Programme is designed to develop 'research-interested' individuals in the early phase of their clinical research careers. The aim of the programme is to provide successful applicants with remunerated time to enable recruitment into National Institute for Health Research Portfolio studies and establish themselves as Principal Investigators and future Chief Investigators.

Currently, Dr Fairbairn is a Consultant Cardiologist sub-specialising in cardiovascular imaging at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. He practices in advanced echocardiography, cardiac MRI and cardiac CT. His clinical and research interests include aortic valve disease, TAVI, inherited cardiac conditions and coronary artery disease and is also part of the ICMS flagship CASA-AF NIHR funded trial. The Research Scholars Programme will provide protected time to support the generation of research outputs including trial delivery and the development of research collaborations / future NIHR grant submissions.

To find out more about NIHR training and education click here .

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