How to Become a MS Nurse
There is no single set way to become a MS Nurse as you will see below. Should you wish to discuss this with a member of the committee please do get in touch using our contact page. Some of the members of the committee have set out how they became MS nurses to show this.
I became an MS nurse from district nursing background. Was looking to specialise and the opportunity came up. Advice to anyone wanting to become an MS nurse is there are more Band 6 development posts available now and a good opportunity to move into it.
I had the opportunity of setting up the day case unit at the QE hospital and a large number of the patients attending where for investigations into MS, diagnosis and then steroid therapy. Shortly after this time, i was asked to be involved with some of the DMT research trials and my interest in MS grew from here.
I was working in a neurological rehabilitation team in the community where we treated people with head injuries, strokes, and a small ratio of people with MS, and developed an interest in MS. I applied to attend the MS Trust course prior to taking a position as an MS Nurse and then was lucky that a local position became available. I think that it would be advisable that people have had some experience of complex disability, and have some community experience, preferably, but not necessarily in neuro before taking on this role.
Having worked in neurology for 5 years I was asked to apply for the position by Professor Bates (brag brag) during my time on the neurological unit my ability to care for the person with MS reached a point where I was the designated “person with an interest in MS” until a position became available via the trials centre to fund a specialist nurse.
Became an MS nurse as I identified a gap within the service I was providing as day service coordinator for rehab service. 95% of referral for nursing input were people with MS. Produced a business case and was given approval to apply for an MS Nurse fund from MS Society. Basically identified an unmet need for an MS nurse in Fife as we didn’t have one back in 1997. Post started in 2000. Able to fulfil this gap as I was trained in Neuro and rehab and had an interest in MS care.
I became interested in MS when managing a rehab unit for young people and I had a friend who was diagnosed with MS. I then completed a honours degree and completed my dissertation on ‘what people with MS want when running MS clinics’. I spoke to the local MS nurse and then applied for the new MS nurse post in Epsom where I work now. I then completed the Hitchin course and the rest is history.
How we would suggest to someone how to become a MS nurse?
MS nurses come from many different backgrounds e.g. rehab, neurology specialist services, ITU, other specialist nurse roles such as parkinsons, palliative, district nursing. I would contact the local MS nurse and ask to shadow her at a few clinics, home visits, possibly do a secondment. This would ensure it is the right role for you. It is important to have excellent communication skills and be able to work on your own and within a team. If possible complete a course where you can focus on MS ideally at degree level, need to have knowledge and understanding of research. I personally do not think this specialist role is for a person early on in their career as there is limited opportunity for career development unless in a large centre
Find out what courses can be done to increase knowledge – possibly complete MSNurse pro. The issues that I faced recently when trying to recruit an MS Nurse was that staff didn’t feel they could apply as they did not have any experience of MS care – ended up employing someone who had transferrable skills but if has been a steep learning curve for them and has not been able to take on a caseload as quickly as I would have.