12 May 2015
Lucy Twyman is a clinical nurse specialist in the plastic surgery outreach team at the Royal Free Hospital.
"I was thrilled to get my placement on the plastic surgery ward at University College Hospital in the first and third year of my nursing training, which led to me embarking on a career in plastic surgery nursing.
"During my training I developed the necessary skills required to treat patients with complex needs following cancer resections, traumatic injuries and burns. Within months of qualifying my unit was admitting major burns victims from the Kings Cross fire of 1987. I will never forget what a difficult time this was for patients who had to endure months of treatment in hospital. It also brought home just how important effective team work is.
"These days I am usually at work from around 7am to go through correspondence, clinic letters and referrals.
"The outreach aspect of my job takes me out of the hospital and into the community, where patients referred to the Royal Free London’s plastic surgery department are assessed and treated at home. This can be hugely positive, particularly for older patients. I also lead the micro-pigmentation and scar management clinics in plastic surgery out-patients.
"The most rewarding aspect of my job has always been the therapeutic nurse/patient relationship that comes with assisting recovery and helping people regain a level of independence during an often complex healing process.
"There are of course day-to-day challenges, such as dealing with distressing situations, medical complications, and helping patients who are finding it difficult to accept the differences in their appearance.
"Despite the autonomous nature of my role, a typical working day still involves a great deal of team work. My job involves multi-professional collaboration as well as consultation with clinicians in and outside the hospital.
"The role also gives me the opportunity to engage with members of the wider wound care industry by attending meetings, conducting presentations and teaching. I’ve just got back from a conference in Bruges at the European Congress on Tattoo and Pigment Research.
"This week I will be attending the European Wound Management Association Conference in London, where my team will be presenting the findings of the first UK study into a new non-surgical skin grafting technique, which has been carried out at the Royal Free Hospital.
These events are ideal for networking with specialists and clinicians in the field, while helping us to put in place best practices and ensure all our patients receive the best possible care. There never seems to be enough time in the day and as one of my colleague’s always says 'there’s so much to do'. But it is hugely interesting and rewarding work."
Notes to editors
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Image: Lucy Twyman
About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.
In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read our news story: A bigger trust, a better future.