Because of the existing links between the Imperial College Renal and Transplant Centre and Sri Lanka, I was asked whether I could help with nurse training for the expanding Sri Lankan PD programme. In January 2020, the ISPD funded my travel to spend 10 days delivering workshops in PD centres and then help with interactive workshops at a multiprofessional national meeting on PD in Kandy which was supported by ISPD, ISN, and Sri Lankan Society of Nephrology. This was attended by 85 multi-professional delegates (nephrologists, nephrology trainees, medical officers, and PD nurses). For this visit, I developed an interactive PD education program for nurses held as two-day workshops in 3 major units – Kandy, Anuradhapura, and Colombo. Over 100 nurses attended these sessions not only from the main units but also from other small PD units and units that would like to start PD. Generally, in Sri Lanka, although the nurses in the main units were trained to perform PD, they were still experiencing many complications such as exit site infections, draining issues, and poor patient compliance. Therefore, the sessions focused on PD-related complications, challenging PD cases, technique-related complications, and moreover quality improvement efforts to grow PD in remote areas with resource scarcity.
I strongly believe that this visit was helpful in empowering nurses with more knowledge and skills to reaffirm and improve their actual practice. Since then, I have remained in contact with some of the nurses I have met, answered questions about practice and I think has helped support the start of new PD units. PD nurses play a crucial role in educating patients and keeping them safe and improving the outcomes of PD programmes in general. It has been particularly rewarding helping PD develop, and therefore patients gain access to dialysis, in a country with limited dialysis resources.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust