Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Meet the Multidisciplinary Team

Tracy Earley is a consultant nurse in nutrition

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 07 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m2323
  1. Lucy Benson, fifth year medical student1,
  2. Natalie Axiotis, fifth year medical student1,
  3. Anna Harvey, BMJ editorial scholar
  1. 1University of Manchester
  1. lucy.benson{at}

Tracy Earley is a consultant nurse for nutrition at Royal Preston Hospital, Lancashire

What is a nurse consultant, anyway?

Nurse consultants are highly trained senior nurses, who specialise in a certain area. For Earley, this specialty is intestinal failure and nutrition.

“As a nurse consultant, I work at a similar level to a medical consultant, but in a narrower field,” says Earley. Patients who are unable to eat and drink are referred to Earley and her multidisciplinary team, which includes nutrition nurses, dietitians, speech and language therapists, venous access personnel, and alcohol services.

That’s a big team. What’s the main aim of the service?

The aim is to make sure everyone has adequate nutrition. This can be through simple means, such as optimising a person’s diet, up to total parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding) or …

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