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West Suffolk Nurse Joins Elite 100

3 May 2005

Sister Julie Peckham has become one of only 100 nurses in the UK to be an Accredited Nurse Colposcopist.

Julie, who has been a nurse at West Suffolk Hospital for 24 years, completed the 18 months training for accreditation to the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and is now qualified to run her own colposcopy clinics.

The speciality of Colposcopy comes from the word colposcope. This is a microscope used to look at the cervix to determine the cause of abnormalities found in smear tests. West Suffolk Hospital currently sees around 1,200 women a year who need further investigation after having an abnormal smear result.

Julieís accreditation means that she has the same training in colposcopy as many doctors who have chosen gynaecology as their speciality. This will further enhance the service at the hospital and allow clinical targets to be bettered.

Julie, who lives in Thetford, said: "I was working in the GU medicine and colposcopy department assisting with clinics as a staff nurse when I first took an interest in colposcopy.

"The department wanted to have a nurse practitioner on the team in the future who was able to run her own clinics. I looked into it and the nursing directorate funded my training. Consultant Peter Spencer supervised me and I had training sessions with the help of other members of staff on the team."

As part of her training Julie had to write ten 500 word patient case commentaries, demonstrate that she could perform colposcopies and a number of different treatments and study cytology (the function and structure of cells) and histology (the microscopic structure of tissues).

Peter Spencer, Consultant Gynaecologist, said: "We are very proud of what Julie has achieved. It is not easy to do the training and itís the same training that many junior doctors have to do to become consultants. In fact there are 2,000 accredited doctors and 100 accredited nurses in the UK.

"Because of what Julie has achieved she can carry out diagnostic and treatment clinics in her own right which will shorten waiting times in the department. Our targets for colposcopy are even more stringent that inpatient targets and we have to see women with abnormal smears within four to eight weeks.

"Julieís personality is such that she really puts patients at ease and makes it much less of an ordeal for them."

Julie has been invited to become a trainer and will eventually be teaching colposcopy to future generations of nurses at West Suffolk Hospital.



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust