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National award for Taunton radiographer’s innovative practice - 07 June 2016

National award for Taunton radiographer’s innovative practice - 07 June 2016

A Musgrove Park Hospital radiographer has won a national award for what judges described as “one of the best examples of innovative practice she had ever seen.”

Kate Cooper, who is a Macmillan specialist radiographer in the hospital’s Beacon Centre, won the 2016 Molnlycke Health Care Wound Academy award for innovative practice.

Her work led to a change in the way patients who take Methotrexate medication for rheumatoid arthritis are referred for radiotherapy treatment.

Kate was alerted to a problem when a patient contacted the hospital, two weeks after completing her radiotherapy, reporting a severe skin reaction.

There was nothing unusual about the patient’s case and her treatment had been completed without issues, but her skin reaction was more profound than usually seen in patients with similar conditions.

Kate discovered that the reaction was made worse by the patient taking a high dose of the prescribed drug Methotrexate, as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

The findings have now been shared with clinicians working in rheumatology, which has led to a change in local radiotherapy policies of the use of Methotrexate while a patient is being treated for other conditions.

Patients taking the drug are now identified before their radiotherapy begins so their care pathway can be better managed.

Kate said she was thrilled to have won the award. “To be recognised for carrying out care that I felt was just part of my role is lovely,” she said. “I hope that by publicising the lessons learnt we can avoid such reactions in the future.”

Karen Morgan, Macmillan consultant radiographer at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “I encouraged Kate to apply for the award as I know this particular case involved multiple visits for the patient for support with skin care following her radiotherapy.

“Kate was not only able to provide the necessary assessment and management of wound care for the patient, but she was also able to influence local policies. The work she carried out in researching this case should prevent further severe skin reactions of this type.

“All patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who are taking methotrexate medication, are now discussed in a wider forum with the consultant clinical oncologist and consultant rheumatologist making joint decisions about care.”

Deborah Glover MBE, editor of the Primary Care Nursing Review, who was an independent judge on the panel, said:

“This was an excellent example of how multi-professional learning can change procedures. It is one of the best examples of innovative practice I have ever seen.

“Kate submitted an excellent case study, which detailed management of an untypical reaction following completion of radiotherapy.

“There is now more robust communication between departments and with other hospitals. This knowledge has the potential to change practice nationally.”