Alison Harris qualified as a nurse in 1986 at the Royal London Hospital and has, since then, worked continuously within the field of nursing. In 1991 as a district nursing sister, working within primary health care in North London, she developed an interest in the treatment and management of Long Term Conditions, specifically diabetes and bladder and bowel care. Five years working as a bladder and bowel specialist took her to University College London as a nurse practitioner, lecture and researcher, within the Department of Medicine. Research interests included the use of intra-vesical atropine in bladder control with multiple sclerosis sufferers and phase III clinical trails on anti-cholinergic-anti-muscarinic drugs for use in hypercontractile bladders.
Alison's links with Middlesex University began as a lecturer-practitioner teaching nurses, physiotherapists and midwives about bladder and bowel dysfunction and module lead for Diabetes Care. The roles involve lecturing, evaluating and re-validating the module. Networking with colleagues in clincial practice is a priority to ensure all modules have a balance of theory and practice. Links with the neighbouring Trust's diabetic specialist teams are well developed.
In 2007, within the University's Centre for Transcultural Health and Social Research, she completed a MSc in European Nursing, developing further her interests in cultural awareness and competency. A small research study looked at the cultural awareness of qualified nurses working within North London.
In 2001 Alison was amongst the initial wave of district nurses to undertake nurse prescribing. Now at Middlesex University she teach other community nurses to become prescribers and contribute to the University's non-medical prescribing programme.
Supporting role and interest:
Links with clinical practice are maintained as a link lecturer for the Community Nursing Services within Haringey and as a personal development tutor for students undertaking their three year nursing BSc.
How do nurses, working across differing community settings, implement self care strategies and promote partnerships in care and what are their identified educational needs in promoting such strategies? An exploratory study. February 2013. Paper submitted to the Royal College of Nursing with the assistance of a RCN Professional Bursary.
The unmet needs of older people (2009). Kate Brown & Alison Harris. Middlesex University Repository. Paper undertaken on behalf of Age Concern Barnet
What evidence is there for drinking eight cups of fluid a day? (2011). Nursing Times. July; 107; (20); p17
Providing urinary continence care to adults at the end of life. (2009). Nursing Times, Continence Journal. July; 105; (29).
The Assessment of Female Urinary Incontinence. (2007). Nursing Times. February.
Toilet Training Children with Learning Difficulties: what the literature tells us. (2004). British Journal of Nursing. 13; (13); p 773-777.
Evidence based practice of the management of urinary catheters. (2001). Mark Allen. London. Chapter, 'The Impact of Urinary Incontinence on the Quality of Life of Women'.
The Impact of Urinary Incontinence on the Quality of Life of Women. The British Journal of Nursing, 1999, 8, (6):375-380.
Assessing and Treating the Cause of Urinary Incontinence. Community Nurse, 2001, June,7, (5): 40-42.
The Restructuring of the District Nursing Services within Camden Islington Community Health Service Trust. Unpublished. (1996).
Learning & Teaching Interests
Bladder and bowel care
Promoting cultural competence in health and social care
Research Outputs & Interests
Bladder and bowel care;
Culturally competent care;
Self management appraoched to care;
Frailty versus resiliance in the health trajectory.
Brown, Kate and Harris, Alison (2009) The voice of experience: the unmet needs of older people in Barnet. Project Report. Middlesex University & Age Concern (Barnet), London.
Funded Research & Knowledge Exchange Projects
How do nurses, working across differing community settings, implement self care strategies and promote partnerships in care and what are their identified educational needs in promoting such strategies? An exploratory study. February 2013.
This research paper was conducted with support from the Royal College of Nursing Professional Bursary. The scope of this paper is to support clinical practice, enabling community nurses to recognise the skills they have and the skills they need to build upon in providing self management approaches to care for those with long term conditions.
Engagement & Impact
Within the sphere of bladder and bowel care Alison was an Executive Member for the Association for Continence Advice from 2005-2011 and a member of the ACA Education Group until February 2013. The ACA offers a quarterly newsletter for which she was editor, 2009-2011, an annual conference and a website, www.aca.uk.com, for which she was website officer, 2006-2011 . Alison was a judge for the Nursing Times Annual Awards, continence section for 2006 and 2007.