Rachel McCrate, A&E sister recently introduced the Endometriosis friendly employer scheme to Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust with the support of the health and wellbeing team.
Rachel shares her experience of endometriosis and the support systems she plans to make available for staff who also suffer.
By Rachel McCrate, A&E sister.
“Endometriosis is not straightforward. It is a disease where cells similar to the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body. Where they grow, how much they grow and how deep they grow varies from person to person – so everyone with the disease can experience a different range of symptoms and severity.
Despite affecting 10% of women of reproductive age, 1.5 million in the UK and 176 million worldwide – there is sadly no cure and treatments are not guaranteed and often come with risks and side effects of their own. The average time of diagnosis is 7.5 years.
I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis during investigative surgery in 2011 after several years of ongoing pain. Since then, I have had multiple surgeries for intervention, hormone replacement treatment and medically induced menopause. In the past, this brought along with sleepless nights, low mood, fatigue, pain and a lot of worries.
This also hosted a range of emotions and decisions regarding pregnancy and fertility. I started to use and continue to use holistic therapies such as exercise, meditation, reiki, yoga and hypnotherapy for pain and symptom management.
I wanted to bring an endo-friendly employer scheme into the trust to both explain the causes, symptoms and other issues surrounding endometriosis and the implications this can have on staff health and wellbeing.
Because of my experience with this condition and how it can affect both home and work life, I know I can fully support those women diagnosed with endometriosis, across Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.
I was fully supported by management during my previous treatments and intend to raise awareness for management in all services to positively support their employees with the condition.
I will be working closely with the medical director and consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist, Andy Beeby, alongside the health and well-being team, the women’s network and the menopause awareness group to continue to raise awareness and provide support and education where possible.
I will be at the menopause awareness day stall on Friday 19th August at Bensham to talk about holistic and relaxation techniques t help manage symptoms of menopause.
I will also be hosting a monthly drop-in group in the listening space for anyone who wishes to gain more information about endometriosis or for anyone who has been already diagnosed and wishes to join me in supporting and raising awareness across the trust.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact me in A&E or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”