A dietitian with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has become the first in the region and only one of a handful nationally to earn a sought-after qualification which allows her to prescribe certain medicines to further improve patient care.
Sara Rollin, who is based at Ipswich Hospital, sailed through her supplementary prescribing course at the University of Suffolk, earning the equivalent of a first.
The qualification means that she can now prescribe artificial nutrition and other agreed medications without needing to get sign off from a doctor each time, which means patients can receive their nutritional support more quickly.
Sara studied alongside 23 other clinicians, including nurses, a pharmacist, radiographer and paramedic, but is so far the only dietitian in the eastern region to achieve the qualification.
Although the initial stages of the course took place on day release, she faced the added pressure of juggling essay writing with working full time at the hospital when COVID-19 hit, even using a mannequin for her final practical exam to reduce the chances of infection.
“I still haven’t quite taken it all in as I was never hugely academic, so feel as if I have surpassed myself!” said Sara. “And to be the first dietitian in the eastern region to achieve this qualification is amazing.
“I wanted to take the course as I knew that becoming a prescribing dietitian would have significant advantages for my patients while allowing me to further improve the care I can offer.
“At the start of the patient’s admission, I will carry out a joint assessment alongside a consultant before we draw up a full management plan. I can then prescribe any medication listed in that plan as and when it is needed, whereas previously I would need to get sign off every time from a doctor.
“This will make a huge difference to patients who need IV nutrition, which can include people with Crohn’s disease, bowel perforations or any other condition which means they cannot use their digestive system to eat and drink. In some of these cases, we have to use artificial feeds for months while we wait for the patient’s bowel to heal, so it is vital that they receive the nutrition they need without delay as it can make a big difference to their recovery.”Back to top