Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Published: 11 May 2024

The people behind our programmes: 5 minutes with BowelScreen Nurse Endoscopist Deirdre Diver

Deirdre Diver, Advanced Nurse Practitioner Gastroenterology, and Nurse Endoscopist BowelScreen, Letterkenny University Hospital

Deirdre Diver is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner Gastroenterology, and Nurse Endoscopist BowelScreen at Letterkenny University Hospital, Co. Donegal. We took five minutes with Deirdre to learn more about a typical day working in the endoscopy unit caring for BowelScreen patients attending for a colonoscopy.

How does your day start?

Early morning is my golden time as the house is quiet. I’m up at 6am and listen to the radio, have tea and read before my three boys get up. My husband takes our youngest to school.

I arrive at the hospital by 7:30am.

What does your job involve?

I coordinate the BowelScreen endoscopy programme in the hospital. Our BowelScreen unit is celebrating its tenth year. This is where people from the area come to have a colonoscopy after doing a BowelScreen home-test that shows traces of blood in their sample.

What does your typical working day look like?

When I arrive at work, I check my emails and the BowelScreen list at my desk.

Then by 8am it’s scrubs on and I go to the endoscopy department. I meet with our team of consultants and clinical nurse specialists to discuss our patient list for the day, and we make sure all safety checks are completed before we start.

After the nursing admission process, I meet our first patient.

Our patients will already have had a BowelScreen health pre-assessment by telephone, so this is an opportunity to discuss any concerns they have, answer any questions, and reassure them.

Once a patient gives consent, they go to the procedure room and are greeted by our nursing staff.

They are given an intravenous sedation and I begin the colonoscopy. It’s a 30-minute procedure examining the large bowel with a special camera called a colonoscope. We reassure patients throughout the exam.

I remove any visible abnormal tissue growths (called polyps) and take biopsies for further investigation.

After the colonoscopy, we transfer patients to the recovery room. I visit them there to discuss what I’ve found. I advise rest, a light diet and a return to normal activities after 24 hours.

After lunch, I go back to the endoscopy unit to do more BowelScreen procedures.

Around 3.30pm, once the list is completed and all patients are discharged, I talk to the staff team and thank them for their support. Then it’s back to my desk to do some administration and make sure all colonoscopy samples are transferred to the laboratory.

I check my list for the following day before I leave for home around 5pm.

What advice would you give to BowelScreen patients having a colonoscopy?

BowelScreen patients are different to other endoscopy patients. Most BowelScreen patients have no symptoms of bowel cancer, so if we find cancer, it’s usually at an earlier stage when it’s easier to treat. Removing polyps means we can prevent some cancers from developing.

Taking the BowelScreen home-test can be so valuable to people’s health.

First published in the Irish Examiner, 26 April 2024: Working Life: Taking the BowelScreen test can be so valuable to people’s health