International Transplant Nurses Society
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International Director at Large

Gemma head shot

Gemma L. Edwards, BSc Hons in Adult nursing

London, United Kingdom

BSc Hons in Adult Nursing – Bucks New University, London (2005-2008). Introduction to Critical Care - Bucks New University, London (2009). Mentorship into Practice - Bucks New University, London (2010). Cardiac Care Module - Bucks New University, London (2012). Independent and Supplementary Nurse Prescribing - Bucks New University, London Prescribing (2014).

BSc (Honors) in Adult Nursing - Bucks New University, London (2005-2008)


Clinical Expertise: 

I am currently working in an Advanced Nursing Team as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Mechanical Circulatory Support. In this role I work very closely with members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team and also with my other colleagues in the team. I also work autonomously. The role is very diverse. I help set up and run outpatient clinics, I provide training for patients, nursing staff and carers. I train outpatient services such as Emergency departments; we offer a 24hr emergency on call service. I am also present in theatre where we assemble the device and operate it accordingly. We work very closely with our patients as we want to ensure that they have the best care and support whilst with a Ventricular Assist Device. I have also cared for post-operative lung and heart transplant patients and also LVAD patients. This involved providing them with nursing care for high dependency patients.


I have been part of the board of directors for nearly 2 years now and it has opened my eyes to the importance of recruiting transplant nurses, enhancing their knowledge and skills and making them aware of ITNS. In the unit of which I work with the nurses on a regular basis, I have found that their morale has dropped and we have a high turnaround of nurses whether this is newly qualified or experienced nurses. Since working on the board I have found I want to lift this morale and continue to assist and educate transplant nurses so we can provide the best standard of care to our transplant patients and provide nurses with the support and education they need to develop their nursing skills and knowledge.


The ITNS foundation is continually changing. In the last two I have been privileged to work closely with a brilliant, talented, experienced team of individuals, whether they are a nurse, have a nursing background or work at the AMC to ensure the daily running of ITNS goes smoothly. I have been part of changing the vision for ITNS and also the core beliefs. The current vision: ITNS is known, understood, and valued everywhere for advancing transplant nursing excellence, demonstrates what and who we are and what we are aiming to be. I feel by being part of the board of directors for another term will help me continue my quest to engage international transplant nurses and make them aware of ITNS and how we can help them develop and transition into highly specialized transplant nurses. I am looking to restart a local chapter in the UK as I am aware there are at this point in time no chapters.


Since joining the board of directors 2 years ago I have become a well-established nurse prescriber for the VAD team. I am able to identify when patients need commencing on antibiotics for if they have a wound infection, I am able to prescribe warfarin on a regular basis for our ever growing VAD patient population. I have also taught international specialist teams on ventricular assist devices. I have recently taught a team of Israeli surgeons on the total artificial heart, I also provided them guidance on their driveline infection issues. We have introduced a new device into the trust and I have been providing staff training on a regular basis and support for this new device. I continue to love my job and what I can do to make my workplace strive with excellent patient care and patient advocacy.


Over the past year we have had several new starters. With the new starters I feel I have taken lead on their training and their development. Although we work as a whole there are times when I feel guidance and teaching helps their progression to becoming a specialist nurse. I often take charge when the most senior staff member is on a non-work day. At this point I feel direction is key to ensure the best patient care is given to our patients. I am also very easy to talk to and a great problem solver, so if there is an issue which arises we can work it out together to ensure the correct treatment is given.
I am coming to an end of my term on the board of directors. I feel I have grown as a person and also as a transplant/VAD nurse. I have gained so much knowledge and bui8lt so many friendships with the board and staff. I would be over the moon if I were to be successful this year with my candidacy. I feel there is so much more to give to ITNS and its members.

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