Eva Moriarty, clinical nurse specialist in pulmonary hypertension

Tell us about your job at Royal Brompton

I am one of three clinical nurse specialists (CNS) for pulmonary hypertension at Royal Brompton Hospital. Pulmonary hypertension is a condition where patients have high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs, which can cause the heart to become damaged and can lead to heart failure.

What does a typical day look like?

Each week we are allocated to a different area – wards, outpatients, and clinics and administration.

A typical week working on a ward involves conducting daily ward rounds where we manage the care of inpatients, educate patients and staff on the condition and medication, and advocate for our patients. We also provide training for patients who take intravenous drugs to help manage their condition, and work as part of a multidisciplinary team to diagnose new patients with pulmonary hypertension.

When working in outpatients we review patients who come in for diagnostic tests, scans and blood tests with other specialist nurses and consultants. 

We are usually office-based when working in our CNS clinic and on administrative tasks. Our CNS clinic is carried out over the phone and is an opportunity for us to remotely monitor our patients’ medication doses and general wellbeing. We are also able to provide them with support and education around their condition. During this week we also lead on the admin for the team which involves managing our shared email inbox and office phone, and attending our various shared care multidisciplinary meetings online. 

How did you get into nursing?

I completed a pre-nursing course in Ireland with distinctions which allowed me to get a place at Southampton University to do a degree in nursing studies. 

After completing my nursing degree, I decided to move up to London and applied for a job at Royal Brompton Hospital, which was a recommendation from a close friend’s mother at the time. I applied to Paul Wood Ward, which is a congenital cardiology ward. I didn’t have much experience in cardiology apart from a brief period working in cardiac surgery as a student, so it was a steep learning curve! 

Tell us how you progressed in your career as a nurse

From starting as a band 5 newly qualified nurse, I worked up to become a band 6 with responsibilities of being the nurse in charge on Paul Wood Ward. At this stage I decided to take a career break to travel and work in Australia. This experience allowed me to work in various areas such as gastroenterology, oncology, neurology, surgical high dependency and various cardiology wards. When I returned to the UK, I continued working in Paul Wood Ward at Royal Brompton at first, but with the confidence gained from my experiences working in Australia, I decided to expand my nursing knowledge further to eventually work in the High Dependency Unit on Elizabeth Ward. 

While working on Elizabeth Ward, Covid-19 hit which meant I had to quickly upskill to support ventilated patients and manage the ever-changing conditions of Covid-19 patients. In 2019, after the initial hit from the Covid waves I noticed a job was available as a Band 7 clinical nurse specialist for pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension was an area which I was familiar with from earlier in my career. I really admired the group of patients and the team looking after them, so I applied and got the job. I will have been working in this job for four years this August.

Why did you get into nursing?

When I was eight years old, I spent a few weeks in hospital as a result of contracting a bone infection after cutting my foot on a stone. I was reliant on the nurses on the ward for my basic needs and they were there for me when my parents couldn’t be around. 

My vision of nurses back then was that they had superpowers and could make any situation better! They always had such a calming approach, were respected by their colleagues, and were great sources of comfort to their patients. 

Since then, I have had such a great admiration for nurses and have felt an overwhelming need to give back to others by following in the footsteps of those nurses who cared for me all those years ago.