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Young people with eating disorders – the slow road to recovery

Supporting troubled teenagers back to health makes unique demands on nurses, but is richly rewarding
Eating disorder

Supporting troubled teenagers back to health makes unique demands on nurses, but is richly rewarding

‘Take yourself back to the age of 15. What thoughts swirled around your head? Did you worry about how you looked or what your friends and teachers thought of you?’

Wendy Clarke, specialist lead for eating disorders at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South Wales, believes nurses should be asking themselves these questions if they are to fully empathise, engage with and help young people with eating disorders.

Ms Clarke’s 15 years of experience in this specialty led her to establish a nurse-led eating disorder service, seeing around 60 new teenage patients a year.

Engaging with patients

‘It’s crucial that nurses fully engage with these patients to unpick what is going on in their heads,’ she says. ‘Eating disorder triggers are still

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