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May 30 2016

Spotlight on ECE Nurses: an interview with Sofia Llahana and Judith van Eck

The European Society of Endocrinology is proud to support endocrine nurses. This year our nurse programme has focused on pituitary secretory tumours, neuroendocrine tumours and adrenal insufficiency.  In this post we interview the Chair of the Nurses’ Working Group, Sofia Llahana (UK), and a member of the Nurses’ Working Group Judith van Eck (The Netherlands).

What do you think delegates took away from ECE this year?

Nurses have left feeling better connected with each other, really learning more from different practices in different countries. For example, today we had a talk by Janina Kirchner specifically on how nurses specialise in endocrinology in Germany. We were very impressed by their national structured training and career development pathway for endocrine nursing which is often not the case for other countries..  As a result of this we would expect a lot of nurses to go back to their respective countries and see how they could improve their own systems.  After the Congress in 2014 (ECE 2014 in Wroclaw, Poland) we found that Polish nurses started their own national group, so who knows what will come after this one!

What opportunities does ECE provide nurses?

There is not much literature or evidence of best practice in endocrine nursing so the Congress helps us to network and pick up new ideas. You need events like these to create a solid foundation of research to build on.

We also have the opportunity to learn from cultural exchanges. We found that German nurses might not have the professional prestige that nurses have in the UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, but they work at a specialist level and are vital members of their endocrine teams; they are very well respected by their medical colleagues. It was fascinating to learn how nurses promote our profession in different countries. In some countries, for example Poland or Turkey, it is the doctors who encouraged their nurses to join the ESE Nurses Network as they recognise the value of nursing and the benefit of learning from colleagues in other countries.

Why is it important to have a dedicated forum for nurses at ECE?

Doctors and nurses need to work together to tackle some of the big endocrine problems of our time.

Through her attendance at the ECAS Meetings, Sofia has found that many doctors have come up to ask us how their nurses can connect with the ESE Nurses Network to improve their role.

The ECE Nurses Programme in 2012 was initiated by a doctor, Associate Professor Pia Burman, so they are very aware of our role and are very supportive. It is also very encouraging that our symposia are attended by doctors as well as nurses. Almost 200 people attended our Meet the Expert session on neuroendocrine tumours, many of them scientists and clinicians.

What are you looking forward to in ECE 2017?

We look forward to seeing more and more nurses coming to our Congress and becoming ESE members. It is fantastic to see the same people attend ECE year after year; it is a sign they are gaining knowledge and improving their practice. Nurses have the opportunity to meet people from different countries, share practice, share knowledge and take back something to their country and we are excited to see what we learn from Portugal in 2017.


Nurses have a Guided Poster tour on Tuesday at 12.45 – to find out more please visit the Poster stand on the ground floor.

European Society of Endocrinology Nurses


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