June 9, 2019

Becoming an Epilepsy Nurse – Carrie’s story

Please send in your stories so we can inspire the epilepsy nurses of the future.

I qualified as a learning disability nurse in 1998 and worked managing community homes for people with learning disabilities. As part of my role I completed my Diploma in Epilepsy at Leeds and carried out the epilepsy and rescue medication training for all the staff. As part of this I attended meetings and conferences to ensure I was up to date.

Managing staff long term was not for me and in 2008 I saw a post advertised for a Sapphire Nurse within GP practices. I thought I might as well apply and I got the job! I took up the first GP based Sapphire Nurse post. I set up the Epilepsy Service across the GP practices in the borough and commenced my independent prescribing course. This post was a great introduction to epilepsy nursing as the majority of patients were fairly well controlled and managed in primary care.

Unfortunately, the travel was too much and in 2010 I applied for and got an Epilepsy Specialist Nurse post within secondary care. The post is funded by the local neurosciences tertiary centre so over time I became more involved with the work they were doing and now work closely with the Tertiary Epilepsy Team including doing VNS clinics.

I have been in my current post for 9 years and really enjoy the daily challenges it holds. I enjoy working with patients and trying to help them improve their quality of life. Of course I still get to work closely with a lot of people with learning disabilities as this has always been something I wanted to continue.  

Carrie Burke Epilepsy Specialist Nurse