Meet new EAUN Board Member: Robert McConkey

My name is Robert McConkey, I live in Galway City on the west coast of Ireland, and I am delighted to join the board of the EAUN. I work in the urology day services department in University Hospital Galway, which is a major acute hospital and one of the eight designated cancer centres in Ireland.

After a career change from the insurance industry, I graduated with my BSc. Nursing in 2007 from the National University of Ireland, Galway. I went on to gain extensive experience in urological nursing care on a dedicated 30-bedded urology ward. During this time, I undertook further education leading to my graduation with an MSc. in Prostate Cancer Care in 2016. I moved to the urology day services unit in 2016 where I coordinated the introduction and delivery of the hospitals first outpatient flexible cystoscopy service.

Advanced nurse practitioner

Shortly after this, I was appointed to the training post of candidate advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) in urology with an agreed caseload of bladder cancer patients. I underwent further education to graduate with my Post Graduate Higher Diploma in Nursing (Advanced Practice with Prescribing) and embarked on a training programme with consultant-led clinical supervision and competency assessment in conducting surveillance cystoscopy for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients. This was the first role of its kind in Ireland. I was appointed to the post of Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Bladder Cancer) in November 2018.

Evidence-based care

I work in collaboration with the urology consultants, non-consultant hospital doctors, urology nurses and wider multidisciplinary team to deliver evidence- based care to my patient caseload. My day-to-day role involves the assessment and management of patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. I take a holistic, shared decision making approach to patient care. This includes patient education, supportive care, and running flexible cystoscopy surveillance and follow-up clinics. I have oversight of the intravesical therapy clinics for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients. I assess these patients at the clinic, prescribe their therapy and follow them up for any care, support and management of the side effects of therapy.

Leadership roles

Other aspects of my role and areas of interest include developing and delivering accredited education programmes in urology, policy and guideline development, and staff training and mentoring, and nurse-led research. My leadership roles include various local, regional and international committee memberships and I have consulted on the Model of Care for urology in Ireland. I set up a journal and research club in our department to promote evidence-based practice as a means to facilitate nurse-led collaborative research. I am also interested in promoting urological nursing generally, as well as advanced nursing practice roles in urology.

Value of international collaboration

My motivation to join the Board of the EAUN is to contribute to the further development of urology nursing internationally. Having served a three-year term on the EAUN Scientific Congress Office, I have gained a deep appreciation of the value of international collaboration by learning from international colleagues and sharing ideas and practices. The different sections of the EAUN are well placed to gather, coordinate, and promote the delivery of standardised best practice evidence-based urological nursing care, education, and research, while advancing urological  nursing internationally. I hope my term on the board of the EAUN will further contribute to developing and achieving these goals.

I look forward to seeing you at the annual EAUN meetings.