Research awards for endocrine nurse

A senior clinical nurse specialist in the endocrine team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) has collected two distinctive awards at the most recent annual British Endocrine Society conference, where she also presented her work. Chona Feliciano was the only nurse in the line-up of academic and clinical speakers at the conference’s clinical highlights session.

Chona was winner of the Annette Louise Seal Memorial Award, for “the abstract submitted which best advances the clinical management of steroid replacement therapy (adrenal)” and the Endocrinology Trust Prize Award.

As part of her work in the Endocrinology Clinic, treating patients with various adrenal disorders, Chona wanted to follow up the recovery rate of patients on a particular treatment regime and factors that are an influence.

Supportive consultants, including Dr Helena Gleeson, Dr John Ayuk, Prof Jeremy Tomlinson (of Oxford University), statistician Peter Nightingale, the dissertation module faculty from the University of Birmingham and her supportive CNS colleagues, were all credited by Chona for making her research work possible.

Most patients want to know if there is a chance of recovery of the adrenal gland function after certain suppressive steroid treatments and Chona’s research found that around 66% of patents did recover within nine months. As a result, the protocol on testing of patients has been changed so that it is no longer done every six months initially. Her work also resulted in changing the replacement steroid dose to less than 25% of the previously recommended dose, resulting in a cost saving for the Trust and the NHS.

Chona’s work has also fed into a larger dataset, working in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Sapienza University of Rome, the results of which are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).

Overall, Chona’s work has led to some ground-breaking changes and treatments for people with adrenal gland failure. These changes included more information being available to patients, less frequent and timely testing, a reduction in steroid use and clearer expectations for patients of what to expect from treatment.

Chona, originally from the Philippines, is delighted by the progression her career has taken and is keen to encourage and inspire other Filipino nurses to look at the options and opportunities available in a UK nursing career. She completed her Master’s Degree in Advancing Practice at the University of Birmingham in July 2018 and never expected to be talking about her work at a conference of colleagues and peers as an award winning researcher.

She said: “Working with one of the largest teams of Clinical Nurse Specialists in Europe is exciting and inspirational and the support of the whole endocrinology team has been wonderful.”

QEHB is part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust which, along with the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, are founding members of BHP.