Interview with N-ECCO National Representative Belgium

Goedele Dewitte, ECCO IBD Nurse Member

Goedele Dewitte
© Goedele Dewitte

Is there any specific training for IBD Nursing in your country?

Until this year, there was no specific training. Every IBD Nurse learned ‘on the job’, with some having the opportunity to do an observership with another IBD Nurse.

In collaboration with the Belgium IBD Nursing Association (BINAstoria), and together with rheumatology and dermatology nurses, we’ve now established a formal IMID (immune-mediated inflammatory disease) postgraduate training programme to support our profession. This postgraduate training will start in October 2024.

Is there any IBD Nurse Network in your country?

Yes, we have BINAstoria, which was set up by all the IBD study coordinators, who came together to share experiences. All IBD Nurses can be members, but so can IBD study coordinators and study nurses, IBD dietitians and IBD psychologists. The last two professions are very new and not well represented in Belgium yet.

What influenced your decision to apply for the role of N-ECCO National Representative for your country and what are the challenges facing IBD Nursing at both a personal and an organisational level?

The BINAstoria Committee asked me to take on this role, since I’m an enthusiastic nurse who likes to network.

IBD Nurses in Belgium face challenges since we are not legal ‘Advanced Nurse Practitioners’ as suggested by the N-ECCO Statements. We are a very heterogeneous group of nurses, with a wide range of education. 

At a personal level, I have sometimes found it difficult to set boundaries. We are no physicians, but we do know a lot about IBD, and for patients it can be difficult to understand everyone’s tasks and duties. 

Do you think that being an N-ECCO National Representative will help you in empowering the IBD Nurse role in your country?

I think it will. As a representative it will be possible to translate the information provided by N-ECCO and ECCO for our Belgian association. Having a broader network will allow me to see how IBD Nursing works in other countries and to provide feedback to the local association.

How do you plan to promote ECCO and its resources, such as the N-ECCO School and N-ECCO Travel Award, to other nurses in your country, and what strategies do you think will be effective?

We have a General Assembly two times a year for all BINAstoria members. During these meetings, all the information from ECCO is presented and deadlines for application to the N-ECCO School are set. The BINAstoria Committee has established a system for deciding which candidates can go to the N-ECCO School.

We have a Facebook Group to share some general information and we send out newsletters and other announcements to all members so that those who cannot attend the meetings are still updated.

Posted in ECCO News, Volume 19, Issue 2, N-ECCO