The specialist nurse who inspired colleagues working in inherited high cholesterol across the UK

A familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) nurse has won a BHF Alliance award for encouraging other specialist nurses to develop services in their areas.

26 June 2018, by Siobhan Chan

A clinical nurse specialist who is credited with inspiring familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) nurses across England has won a BHF Alliance award.

Lisa Gritzmacher, FH clinical nurse specialist at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, has shaped FH testing services across the south west of England and shared her learning with nurses in other areas to support them with service development.

Her engaging leadership style has inspired others to specialise in cardiac care. This, coupled with her tireless work on FH, won her the BHF Alliance award for Leadership and Engagement at the British Cardiovascular Society Annual Conference 2018 in Manchester on 5 June 2018.

To get FH services off the ground in Bath and Bristol, Lisa developed guidelines to ensure a seamless genetic testing and counselling service for patients. She has since shared these processes with other FH nurses across the UK to help them develop their services.

Lisa also speaks at nurse training days, where she shares best practice and mentors other BHF-funded FH nurses.

“I am honoured to receive this award from the BHF,” Lisa said. “We are constantly striving to innovate and drive the service forward and it’s incredibly rewarding to know that this work is so valued.”

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Inspiring leadership

Annalie Hamlen, an FH clinical nurse specialist at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says Lisa inspired her to specialise in her field.

“The engaging presentation that she gave [at a BHF nurse away day in 2015], and the passion and expert knowledge she demonstrated, ignited my interest in the condition and resulted in my successful application to become a FH specialist nurse,” Annalie said.

“Working as a single FH nurse can be isolating. Lisa recognises this and has always been available for any advice and support that I have needed in the development of my service.”

National campaign

Lisa has also campaigned on behalf of patients who live outside her service’s catchment area and whose clinical commissioning group does not yet provide cascade testing, such as a woman from Devon with very high cholesterol levels, whose brother recently died of a heart attack at the age of 31.

She has also reached out to primary care in the surrounding Bristol area to help integrate primary and secondary care services to help promote the FH service locally, and to successfully identify new index cases.

Lisa has campaigned nationally about the need for FH services, speaking to MPs at an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting last year.

For more stories from healthcare professionals on the frontline of cardiovascular care, see our Profile section.

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