Communication circulated 16th November 2021
This week we are all very deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rachel Busuttil-Leaver. Rachel was a founder member of BAUN and had remained strongly involved with the association over the full 25 years of the organisation’s existence. So committed was she to the mission and values of BAUN that the heart of the association itself reflects so much of what was important to Rachel.
If you have attended conferences and study days in times gone by, you will remember Rachel as a vibrant and animated presenter. Her essential anatomy and physiology sessions were a mainstay at conference while she was a BAUN trustee, and Rachel’s energy and enthusiasm kept the attention of all audience members throughout every talk she delivered. Her love of teaching really shone during her educational presentations and although she had recently retired from her clinical role at UCLH, Rachel remained engaged in her work as an educator through the university and through BAUN.
Rachel’s support of the BAUN further extended when she became Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Urological Nursing. Here her passion for research and the sharing of best practice came to the fore. As a first class communicator, Rachel’s gift for writing facilitated the education of thousands of nurses globally. Indeed, it is very likely that you yourself have read some of her work as she was a very prolific author and contributed greatly to the body of knowledge related to urological nursing.
Rachel will be remembered with great fondness by all who knew her. She was excellent company and always went out of her way to inspire and encourage her friends, colleagues, students and BAUN members. One only has to read a few of the hundreds of tributes on social media to see exactly how well loved and respected Rachel was. Although she was immensely knowledgeable, talented and experienced, Rachel was also extremely down to earth and approachable. We have so many happy memories of Rachel celebrating the achievements of Urological nurses and taking pride in the growth and flourishing of the BAUN itself.
At our Brighton conference In 2015, Rachel received a standing ovation when officially recognised for her contribution to BAUN and to urological nursing. She had already been our newsletter editor for many years by this time and continued to bring us her own unique brand of vivacious editorial musings each quarter right up until summer 2019. In the newsletter, Rachel wrote exactly as she was – full of life and observations, sharing her thoughts, reflections and thought provoking messages. She was a proud ‘Malteser’ and loved to talk about her homeland of Malta offering travel tips and ‘must-see’s’ to all. Have a look through the back catalogue of newsletters on the BAUN website and through her writing you will get a good feel for how engaging and kind Rachel was.
We will honour Rachel further at conference where we will celebrate her life and her important legacy. Rachel’s enormous contribution to the world of Urological nursing is unparalleled and we will miss her greatly. Rachel’s love of life, urology and nursing radiated from her in all that she did. We will show our gratitude to her by continuing to provide the highest standards of education, networking and professional development for our members in her name. It is hoped that by honouring her in this way we will continue her legacy as an educator, a colleague and a very dear friend.
Rest well Rachel.
BAUN Honorary President
Eileen was a Urology ward manager at Craigavon Area Hospital, Northern Ireland. She was the first Urology Nurse from Northern Ireland to be elected to BAUN Council. the qualities that Eileen displayed as a ward manager she also brought to Council. Eileen was a mentor of the highest quality. She was charming, and even tempered, seeking to produce improvements in systems and people by persuasion and example, rather than by argument and dissention. Eileen was restless for change and believed that it was always possible to improve the quality of care offered to patients. She was openly supportive of colleagues, encouraging them to develop their skills and facilitating this where she could, and occasionally where she could not. Eileen died aged 44 in 2001.
In recognition of Eileen’s contribution to BAUN council and urological nursing and reflecting her spirit of change and challenge via non-confrontational means, we continue to have the yearly lecture in her honour.
Sarah Henderson 1965 – 2013
Sarah was one of the first Macmillan uro-oncology CNS's in the country and started at St George's Hospital, Tooting, in this role in 1998.
We first met when Heather (Uro-oncology CNS in Bristol) organised a meeting for those of us in the same role and about a dozen people attended. As a group we decided to meet regularly for mutual support, "networking" and of course, to set the world (or at least, the NHS) to rights! We travelled to venues around the country to the town of the host CNS. In 2002 when BAUN decided to set up an oncology sub section, we offered to become the group as we already had an established cohort and it was at a meeting organised by Sarah at St George's where the first committee meeting occurred. Later Sarah became Chair of this sub-section and through these meetings we built up a good friendship as well as a professional network.
As all our work is about team working, it seems right to ask others for their thoughts or lasting memory of Sarah that they would wish to share. There are common themes to all and many said they thought their views would be the same as others - it's true, but it gives more credence to the special qualities Sarah possessed. Even when visiting her during her illness, she managed to put you at ease, make you welcome and was keen to catch up on news – and gossip!
Jane Booker, Manchester: “I have always taken Sarah’s presence for granted. She started in post around 6 months before I did and when we, the first dozen Macmillan Urology nurse specialists, used to meet up she offered me support and friendship from the beginning. It was only when she became ill that I had cause to reflect on Sarah’s impact on uro-oncology nursing and how the loss of her will impact on a wide group of people. From her chairmanship of the Oncology sub group of BAUN, leadership on the first intravesical guidelines and contributions and presentations to national and international meetings she has been an inspiration. I also admired her for her spirit of adventure, travelling to exotic and interesting destinations.
Ann French (formerly Ann Tull), Southend, recalls; “My first encounter with Sarah was when I first came into the world of uro-oncology. She invited me to join her and a few colleagues at a café table whilst waiting for a train back to London after a study day. Her friendly nature and intuition sensed my feeling of being out of my depth, and she took me in. When she introduced herself to me I replied ‘ I have referenced you’, to which she replied back with some dry humour. From that day on she became a special work colleague whose personality never changed, even when she became ill. She was loyal, kind, considerate, had a wicked dry sense of humour and was a nurse that others aspired to be like. Her time in this world may have been cut short but her legacy to nursing will remain for years to come”.
Sarah Sowton, Epsom & St Helier, now St George’s: “Sarah was just always there for me, so willing to listen, advise and support. Always the person I'd call to run something past and never made you feel you should have known the answer or she didn't have time”.
Pauline Bagnall, Newcastle: “My most outstanding memory of Sarah is from when we had a Section of Oncology meeting in Bristol some years ago. We stayed in the same B&B. We were meeting at Georgia’s (Diebel) flat. When it came time to go to the meeting I suggested we walked there. It took over an hour and neither of us had a charged mobile phone to let any one know we were on our way. Poor Sarah said she hadn't walked so far in ages but didn’t complain. Just quiet comments and worries about us being late for our meeting. When we arrived Sarah told every one I'd made her walk there. I'm smiling while I write this because of course it sounded like I'd frog marched her across Bristol! I would never have met Sarah if I hadn't been a BAUN member as she worked in London and me in Newcastle. I met her when I joined the Section of Oncology committee and although we didn't meet up often I felt that she was a good friend. When I think of what a specialist nurse is, I think of Sarah: a thinker, a leader, a worker, and an influencer”.
Vitra Khati from King’s College writes “For me Sarah was the ever gentle and kind person......so hard-working I felt she dedicated herself to her work....... anyone in her work circle and other organisations she was associated with would no doubt have felt an immense loss.
I feel such a great loss of a friend who should have had the fullness of this life. The loss of Sarah will not only be felt for her valuable work but more so for losing a wonderful human being, friend and colleague "
As a uro-oncology CNS, Sarah is probably best known for the work she did with Nick Watkin and the team at George's to build up the well-respected supraregional penile cancer team which won the Pfizer oncology award for team of the year in 2009.
Nick Watkin says of Sarah “There is no single example that typifies Sarah's contribution to nursing the Urology patients. My overriding memory of Sarah is her complete dedication to all the patients and she always went the extra mile for them. Nothing was ever too much trouble and the patients always remembered her. On many occasions I have had patients asking about Sarah as they hadn't seen her recently and were so upset when they found out she had been so ill and yet she had still been looking after them. She has been a great loss to us all, but her legacy will be the example she set and her exemplary standards of patient care”.
In addition she was one of the expert working group for the Prostate Charter for Action in 2007 “Because men matter: the case for the CNS in prostate cancer”. She led the BAUN working party to produce the first guidelines on the administration of intravesical therapies and reviewed the update. She was a nurse cystoscopist; she organised a penile cancer day with Orchid (the first Charity specifically for male cancers); worked closely with Georgia Diebel (when at the Prostate Cancer Charity) reviewing information etc and has published a number of papers.
All of us remember Sarah with huge respect for her genuine passion for uro-oncology, her patients and as an example of the type of nurse we should all aspire to be.
Bruce Turner 1979-2016
Bruce Turner was a well known and loved BAUN member, a nurse consultant at the Homerton Hospital, London and BAUN Education lead for many years.
Bruce was quite simply awesome. His love for Urology was indisputable and his enthusiasm for education for nurses was an indomitable force. During his time on BAUN council, he was instrumental in designing and organising programs of informative and free study days which were accessible to all in Urology.
Our beloved friend and colleague died in 2016 after a terminal diagnosis of cancer. He was determined to continue his mission to educate and impassion Urological nurses and left instructions that a legacy should continue in his name. This legacy has been used to establish The Bruce Turner Award: an annual prize which will provide a fully funded place (Transport, accommodation and conference fees) to the BAUN annual conference, along with a council mentor to help your development and an opportunity to attend BAUN council and a team building day.
Bruce always encouraged and supported urology nurses to attend conference. He strove to enhance our knowledge and rejuvenate our love for this diverse speciality; not only through the education programme, but also through socialising with friends, colleagues and peers. He was also a mentor and inspiration for many, helping urological nurses to develop their practice and reach their professional goals, and we are proud to continue his legacy through this award.