The recently appointed nursing and midwifery staff at East Genomics are an essential part of the strategic team to support the mainstreaming of genomic medicine into clinical practice across the East of England and East Midlands to help improve patient care and outcomes.
With over half a million registered nurses and midwives in England1, nursing and midwifery form the largest part of the NHS workforce.
The East Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (East GMSA) has been set up alongside six other GMSAs across England (opens in a new tab) to help embed genomics into routine care by bringing together the vital multi-disciplinary clinical leadership and other operational and digital functions that are necessary to make this possible.
The Nursing and Midwifery team at East GMSA team consists of:
- Vicky Carr, Joint Nursing Lead
- Annette Breen, Joint Nursing Lead
- Melissa Cambell-Kelly, Associate Nurse
Vicky’s professional background is in adult critical care. Prior to her role at East GMSA she was Deputy Head of Nursing for one of the five directorates at CUH. In this role she was responsible for adult critical care, trauma and orthopaedics, major trauma and long Covid.
She was appointed to the GMSA in January 2022 and is based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Vicky tells us why she was keen to be part of the Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (GMSA):
I was keen to be part of the GMSA because this role provides an opportunity to work with nurses across many NHS trusts and to also be part of a national group to drive improvements to patient care.Vicky Carr, Joint Nursing Lead
She added: "I work with various professional groups to develop how nurses and midwives can support the mainstreaming of genomics and it is exciting to be part of something that will transform healthcare for us all and for nurses and midwives to support and influence the change. The role gives me a greater understanding of how services work together outside the hospital environment and an opportunity to use my skills differently.”
Annette brings a combination of knowledge and experience from nursing, health visiting, genetic counselling, public health, commissioning and quality and safety to the GMSA.
She is a registered nurse and health visitor and previously a registered genetic nurse counsellor. She has a Master’s in Public Health and Master’s in Quality and Patient Safety Improvement.
Annette was appointed in February 2022 and is based at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
I enjoy developing clinical services through innovation and transformation and see the genomics agenda has the potential to be truly transformational.Annette Breen, Joint Nursing Lead
She added: “Together with my various experiences including public health and quality assurance, I have been responsible for delivering education and training to nurses and other health care professionals so am keen to get truly stuck into this role!”
Melissa has a background of Trauma and Orthopaedic Nursing, Accident and Emergency Nursing and Midwifery.
For the last 15 years she has been involved in Clinical Research Nursing with the last 6 years as the Research Matron at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH).
She started her new role in April 2022 and will be based at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
My interest in genomics started whilst working in midwifery and developed further with the 100,000 Genomes Study as I could see the benefits genomic testing had for the patient and their family.Melissa Cambell-Kelly, Associate Nurse
"At that time there was no alternative treatment options or tailored treatment, so it is very exciting that genomics is starting to transform health care and to be involved in that process.
“I am excited to work with nursing teams and other professionals including genetic counsellors across the region to improve access to genomic testing and genomic education, working with senior nursing teams to have a positive impact on patients and their experience and ultimately improve the outcome of care for patients”.
Vicky, Annette and Melissa will help deliver national and local activities across the region which include:
- Creating a network of nominated nursing/midwifery representatives across all NHS trusts in the East GMSA region
- Developing a network of diabetes specialist nurses and supporting a bi-monthly network forum
- Designing essential competencies for genomics in nursing & midwifery and working with our partners in education to integrate them into practice
- Working with cancer alliances to understand the priorities for genomics in nursing and to support development of patient pathways, with an initial focus on Lynch Syndrome
For more information on the GMSA visit the website
Reference: 1. Statistic from Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2021