Patient’s Choice: ‘Guardian angel’ committed to improving outcomes after surgery

Nurse specialist Jamilla Kausar proved to be a rock for a patient diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Nurse specialist Jamilla Kausar proved to be a rock for a patient diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Christopher Tyler was 50 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

‘My world fell apart,’ he recalls, ‘and I was in the wilderness wondering what the future might hold.

‘I didn't respond to medication, had a relatively young family and a business that I couldn't drive forward like before. The NHS, and particularly nurse Jamilla Kausar, was my saviour.’

In February 2017 Mr Tyler was selected as a suitable patient for deep brain stimulation (DBS). The operation was a success but he faced a battle to map the implanted device with his DNA. Ms Kausar, a movements disorder surgery clinical nurse specialist in the neurosciences department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, has been his rock throughout the process.

‘It's been a tortuous process of countless visits and adjustments for both the device and drug cocktails,’ says Mr Tyler. ‘This journey was only made possible with my guardian angel Jamilla who works long and arduous hours, is always available on the phone and comes in on her days off to meet and comfort Parkinson’s patients.

‘We are more than just patients to Jamilla. And now we are a community of individuals who owe our well-being to this gifted care provider’

Christopher Tyler

‘She takes pride in her work, has a determination and almost an obsession in ensuring the results are optimised. To put it quite simply, I couldn't function without her support and commitment.’

He also values the camaraderie that she has built among her patients.

‘We are more than just patients to Jamilla. And now we are a community of individuals who owe our well-being to this gifted care provider.’

True spirit of NHS

Mr Tyler added: ‘I hope she can be recognised as the true spirit behind the NHS. It is often in the news for negative reasons, so I felt compelled to stand up behind this incredible organisation and seek recognition for nurses such as Jamilla.’

Ms Kausar says she is shocked to be nominated.

‘It is so lovely and came completely out of the blue. I thought the email had been sent to the wrong person – such a wonderful surprise.’

Ms Kausar has a clear vision of what she wants to deliver to her patients and how, but it has meant doing a lot of work in her own time, which she says makes Mr Tyler’s nomination even more special.

She says it is extremely difficult for patients to balance medication and stimulation after the surgery, and being available to them is key.

‘They can call me whenever they need me. Like any long-term condition, people need help and support when they need it. I make sure my patients are at the heart of everything I do.

‘I place great emphasis on patient-initiated reviews and they depend on me to speak up for them. I work hard to remove the barriers and segmented care that can exist in the NHS.

Core values

‘It has been my mission to improve the responsiveness of the service for patients and their carers. Openness and transparency, and ensuring patients are full participants in their care, are core values for me.

‘It is what patients want but can be hard to deliver in the NHS even though it is so simple, cheap and effective. It is really rewarding that nurses can be the deliverers of such care.’

Pioneering role

Deidre Wild, one of the other patients who nominated Ms Kausar, praised her for a strong caring role and pioneering specialist skills in neurosurgical technology.

Ms Wild says: ‘Across 12 years, Jamilla has been a pioneer in developing this specialist role, for at the outset there was no nursing precedent. She now has some 400 Parkinson’s disease patients who have had DBS neurosurgery, and her service has evolved with their freedom to contact her by mobile 24/7.

‘This is a hugely generous bonus to apprehensive pre-operative patients and to post-operative patients undergoing the sometimes difficult balancing of their functional performance with their new electrodes’ output and their new medication regimes.

‘Her reputation is one of honesty and openness in putting all of her patients at the forefront of every decision and intervention.’

Inspirational stories

The Patient’s Choice award, sponsored by Yakult, enables members of the public to thank a nurse, midwife, health visitor, healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner who has delivered exceptional care.

A public vote is currently under way to choose the winner of this prestigious award, in which patients nominate a nurse whose care has had an enormous impact on their lives.

The five moving and inspirational stories of excellent and compassionate care shortlisted for the Patient’s Choice category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2018 feature nurses from general practice, acute care and the community who have improved their patients’ lives and in one case helped them have a good death.

Voting is now closed. The winner will be announced at the RCNi Nurse Awards ceremony in London on 4 July. Find out more at nurseawards.co.uk

The RCNi Patient’s Choice award is sponsored by Yakult

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