Day in the life of a TB and migrant health nurse at Gateshead Health

Tuberculosis (TB) and Migrant Heath Nurse Specialist, Katherine Jenkins has been in her role at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust since February 2024 and works within the community with adults and children to treat patients, provide education and advocate for migrant health.

The Trust has had a TB Nurse Specialist in previous years, the new part of the role focuses on migrant health, as there are people in our communities from various backgrounds and countries. This group of people has the potential to be a vulnerable patient group who need support and support in accessing healthcare, keeping in mind the barriers they may face and challenges they may have overcome.

Katherine Jenkins, TB nuse
Katherine Jenkins, TB and migrant health nurse

Katherine describes a typical day in her role:

My day-to-day changes every day. It is a brilliant job in terms of nursing as I think it is a very holistic and challenging role; with TB, there is a low number of cases in the UK and North East which allows for very personal care.

I keep my weeks fluid to accommodate patient needs, with TB there are active patients who are those that are contagious and latent patient who aren’t and they require different levels of care. Active patients are on longer treatment plans and more medication. So, you get to know these patients very well and support them through their treatment.

Katherine Jenkins, TB and migrant health nurse

As well as patient care in the community, Katherine runs a TB nurse clinic, which involves screening appointments for TB contacts and new entrant asylum residents. Katherine works closely with the adult respiratory consultant and Paediatrician who specialise in TB and is involved in their TB clinics.  She is responsible for notifying new active TB cases to the UK Health Security Agency and reporting to the National TB surveillance database. Katherine is a member of the Regional TB network and Regional TB nurse group who meet to discuss new developments and discuss cases.

Katherine has recently started an asylum drop-in health desk at a local church, which is a brand-new opportunity to reach the community with healthcare promotion. She is currently mapping out all the services available to asylum seekers to identify gaps in services.

“The best thing about my job is the patients, you get to know and support them, building trust to ensure they can access our services and to complete treatment plans. The future of the service is exciting, as the migrant health part of the role is new with room to develop it further, there is potential for more drop-in sessions for the community to make it easier to access healthcare.”

This role aims to highlight the importance of awareness of TB, as it is thought to be an illness of the past with a lot of stigma around it. By having a TB and migrant nurse at Gateshead Health this is a learning opportunity for our workforce and to advocate for asylum seekers within our community, Katherine hopes to be able to be a source of information to be able to opportunistically support this community for when they access healthcare.

Katherine comments on her experience working at Gateshead Health:

What I have enjoyed the most so far is the opportunity to learn from the Carole Maclean, the TB Specialist nurse who worked in this role before me and my impression of the Trust is that everyone working here is very patient focused which is refreshing and stands out.

Katherine Jenkins, TB and migrant health nurse