A highlight from day one of the 22nd International EAUN meeting (EAUN22) was the announcement of Mr. Jerome Marley (GB) winning the Ronny Pieters Award, for his outstanding and enduring contribution to the development of urological nursing in Europe.
As a former EAUN Chair and Board Member, Mr. Marley has a long history with the EAUN, including his contribution to the very first Scientific Congress Office (SCO), which was formed in 2014. He played an important role in shaping a curriculum for urological nurses and committed his time to the development of new learning methods in nursing, like e-learning. He also served as the president of the British Association of Urology Nurses from 2004 to 2006.
Mr. Marley is currently the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Urological Nursing, and a lecturer at the Ulster University, Northern Ireland. During his extra-ordinary career, Mr. Marley has published over 30 scientific papers on urological topics, and has been a moderator or member of the steering committee to a number of international conferences and educational programmes all over the world.
We spoke with Mr. Marley about winning the Ronny Pieter Award, an award named after Ronny Pieters (BE) to honour his pioneering achievements and contributions to urology nursing, and the constitution and development of the EAUN. The Award was introduced at EAUN19 in Barcelona, Spain.
What does winning the Ronny Pieters Award mean to you?
Mr. Jerome Marley: “Winning the Ronny Pieters Award has been a very humbling experience. It goes without saying that I am very honoured indeed, and still surprised if I am honest. Working in urology care both in practice, and in latter years in urology nurse education, has been the greatest joy of my professional life. I really do see myself as being so lucky that I was exposed to urology nursing. None of us enter urology nursing thinking that we might win an award, not at all. Equally, joining the EAUN was simply a natural thing for me and, as I have said many times, the EAUN gave me infinitely more than I gave it. I was delighted to be able to contribute the work that I have done thus far because it allowed me to work with and learn from wonderful colleagues and to see progress made.”
“There are many people who might have won the award as others have also been consistent in their commitment to developing urology nursing, often over many years. To be recognised for doing what I love is something that I will never forget and willtreasure always, especially as it is named after someone for whom I have only the greatest respect and admiration.”
“Over the past few years I have become convinced of the need for the EFUN and the supportive educational programmes that must accompany it.”
Where did your interest in a career in urological nursing come from?
“My interest came about simply because I happened to be a nurse on a unit where a urologist was employed for the first time, and we started to treat people with urological disorders because at that time in the early 1990s no-one else in the hospital really wanted to open their doors to this unknown specialty. I was hooked on urology almost from the first day and was lucky enough to work with colleagues and managers who were equally excited about urology. So my interest was an accident or stroke of luck, call it what you will, but I am so happy that it happened as it made all the difference in my career.”
“Over 20 years ago I became a member of BAUN and then in 2000 I was lucky enough to attend the first EAUN Congress in Brussels. This conference had been the dream of Ronny Pieters and it was here that I met Ronny for the first time. Since then I have become more and more involved in trying to work with others to advance the art and science of urology nursing. As part of that journey, I have been a Urology Nurse Lecturer-Practitioner, a joint appointment between my local hospital and Ulster University. The flexibility of this post and the understanding of both employers allowed me to engage with projects including EAUN Board membership, as well as being a member of the Scientific Congress Office.”
Who has supported you through your career?
“There are so many people and organisations who have supported me. At the outset I have to say that two people stand out from the earliest days. Eileen O’Hagan, sadly no longer with us, was the nurse manager of my department in the 1990s and was the model of what a supportive and enthusiastic nurse manager should be. Eileen opened doors and created space for nurses to grow, I think that is so vital.”
“The second person, actually the person who organised the resources to bring me to Brussels in 2000 was Aidan O’Brien, a urologist in my hospital. I remember Aidan telling me that I needed to attend a urology meeting every year because practice and knowledge was moving fast and I needed to hear what was happening and play what part I could. Ulster University was especially supportive in my urology career, and the various Heads of the school of Nursing were all so generous with their time and encouragement for the development of urology nurse education, beginning in the 1990s and remaining active today.”
“…joining the EAUN was simply a natural thing for me and, as I have said many times, the EAUN gave me infinitely more than I gave it.”
“Lastly, I need to say that both EAUN and BAUN have been instrumental in supporting my career. EAUN has been the most wonderful organisation to be involved with and I have been lucky not only to have played a small part in developing urology nursing through EAUN, but equally in meeting and being inspired by so many colleagues across Europe and indeed the world.”
What is your most memorable experience from when you joined the very first Scientific Congress Office (SCO)?
“That is easy to answer – what stands out for me was the raw enthusiasm and dedication that was shared between all of us in the room. We were one group, urology nurses and EAUN Office staff in the shape of Hanneke Lurvink (who thankfully remains with us today), who were committed to creating something our colleagues would value and benefit from. It was exciting and fulfilling to be in a room with people who cared about urology nursing as much as I did. We were convinced that we could offer something to our colleagues that would excite and inform, and so it was.”
“I am not sure if it was my first meeting, but I have a very clear memory of an SCO meeting in Kolding, Denmark, and planning the next congress using Post-It notes on large sheets of paper scattered on a few tables. The meeting took place in the local town library of all places. We brought ideas to the table, debated them, refined them, and moved them into the programme, trying to make something that appealed to as many colleagues as possible, employing input from nursing and medical experts. I would tell anyone who thinks that SCO would be a worthwhile experience that they would be absolutely right, it is.”
What are your aspirations for the future of the Educational Framework for Urological Nursing (EFUN)?
“Over the past few years I have become convinced of the need for the EFUN and the supportive educational programmes that must accompany it.
The COVID-19 pandemic really slowed the development of EFUN as those of us involved in devising and evolving EFUN were, like everyone else,
diverted to other things during this unparalleled time and that is understandable. However, now that we are seeing a glimmer of relief, we need to push on to conclude the first phase of EFUN and to work with educational providers to create programmes of study.”
“These programmes would offer urology nurses easy access to high-quality programmes that would assist them to deepen their knowledge and provide recognisable qualifications that would assist their care and career development. Equally important we also have an issue to look at regarding how we might be able to recognise the knowledge and experience of established urology nurses and see whether, and in what way, we can integrate this into the EFUN.”
“Ultimately, I would want to see an agreed EFUN for new and emerging nurses, as well as an extension for advanced/specialist nurses. Such structures would be agreed, sought after, and recognised by nurses and our other professional colleagues. Having the ability for nurses to have postnominal letters after their name indicating that they have attained a recognised qualification in urology would symbolise a great leap forward for our urology nursing profession.”
What has been the most valuable experience for you as part of the EAUN?
“The most valuable experience for me has been the fact that I am part of an organisation that values urology nursing as much as I do. In the EAUN people offer their services to do what they can as part of a team to advance our profession. I think that increasingly people are reluctant to take on additional responsibilities beyond those in their daily work. To see people stepping forward in the EAUN, offering to play their small part, is consistently encouraging to me and is one of the key experiences I have.
“I wish more colleagues would play a deeper role in EAUN, as we need the efforts of all to drive forward with our ambitious plans. In Brussels in 1990, none of knew what lay ahead of us, but we certainly knew that there was a huge amount of work needing done. I think we were so excited to be supported by EAU to form the EAUN that we did not care about what lay ahead – the work would get done, eventually.” “In some ways this remains the case. The experience of being part of a team has been so important, with everyone doing what they can and no more. Over the past 22 years, there have been ups and downs, successes and failures; what else did we expect? In the end though, we continue to make great advances in creating a representative organisation which has the resources, leaders and members to make urology nursing ever more what it needs to be.”
What’s on your urology bucket list still?
“I think I have a rather large bucket if I am honest. As I indicated above, the EFUN would be at the top of the bucket for sure. A close second though would have to be the increased cooperation between urology associations across the world creating a more common approach to evidence informed practice that offers support to both new and established urology nurses. I think this kind of joined up thinking is critically important now and, in the future, if we are going to see urology nursing thrive; standing still is not an option.”
This article was first published at the EAUN22 Congress website.