2016 International SCI Nurse Conference

Presenter and Workshop Manager Biographies

 Joke Beekman

Joke Beekman

Joke works as a Nurse Practitioner Rehabilitation Medicine in the SCI unit, at the Rehabilitation Center, Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Joke has 28 years of experience working in SCI nursing. She started as a general nurse on the SCI ward, later combining being a senior nurse on the ward with being the continence nurse for both in/out clinic patients.

Since 2002 Joke works full time as a specialized nurse in the area of neurogenic bladder and bowel management, combined with the post-discharge care for the SCI patients.

Joke has done numerous presentations and educational activities on a local, national and international level. She was the project leader for the development of a national guideline on bowel management for people with a SCI.
  • 1985: Graduated from nursing school
  • 1995: Continence nursing training
  • 2002-2004: Training as Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • 2004-2006: Training as a Nurse Practitioner (MANP)


Jacqui Byrne

Jacqui Byrne, a native of Scotland, is a Staff Development Facilitator in the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH) in Dublin, Ireland. She has worked in SCI nursing in the MMUH since February 2000.

Jacqui has developed and runs the Clinical Professional Development Programme in Spinal Column/Spinal Cord Injury Nursing, which has been accredited by UCD. She also developed and coordinates the Spinal Manual Handling Instructors Course in Ireland.

She is co-author of several SCI guidelines in the MMUH, most notably the Guidelines for Weaning a SCI patient from PVS using the VFB method. She has presented nationally and internationally on various aspects of nursing the Spinal Column/SCI patient.

She currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.
Following completion of her general training in Scotland, Jacqui travelled around Australia gaining nursing experience in Care of the Elderly, Rehabilitation and Acute nursing.

On return from Australia Jacqui settled in Ireland and went to work in the MMUH. She gained experience in both Orthopaedics and Spinal Nursing before completing her Higher Diploma in SCI Nursing. She spent a year as a Clinical Placement Coordinator and commenced her current role in 2007.

Her current role is very varied, including teaching, supporting existing staff, orientating new staff, helping staff to achieve competencies in Spinal Column/SCI Nursing, and developing protocols and guidelines to support staff in nursing the Spinal Column/SCI patient.
Jacqui completed a BSc in Anatomy from Glasgow University. She completed her General Nurse Training in Napier University, Edinburgh. After moving to Dublin she completed her Higher Diploma in SCI Nursing from UCD.


Lucia Cavallaro

Presently Nursing Coordinator at the USU Hospital, Catania, Italy

2011 -> present:
  • Head Nurse at the USU Catania

1993 -> 2011:
  • Intensive Care Nurse at Cannizzaro Hospital of Catania
Congress presenter:
  • Genova XVII National Congress SIMS speaker "The Importance of Nutrition in Wound healing in L.D.P.” 2016
  • Assisi National Conference "The global assistance to people with spinal cord injuries" speaker "Work multicenter Toolkit welfare area Report" 2015
  • Roma National Conference "Age quo Ages" speaker "Multicenter Jobs: Nutrition of the person with spinal cord injury” 2014
  • Bergamo XVI National Conference of SOMIPAR speaker "The psychological caregiver appearance” 2014
  • Catania Seminars 4 edition “The rehabilitation team” speaker “The Nurse in the rehabilitation team”
  • Ostuni (Bari) National Conference "The network of the Territorial Services and independence of people with spinal cord injuries" speaker "Forming the caregiver" 2013
  • National Conference "From the evidence Scientific to take charge of the person with spinal injury" speaker "The realization Spinal Unit of Catania" 2012
Degree in Nursing Science
Master's 1° liv.in Nursing Management with function of Coordination, Training of Trainers in the field of Social Health, CEFPAS Course Operator, 118 Catania Emergency Relief central operator and helicopter rescue.

 Maureen Coggrave

Maureen Coggrave

I have worked with individuals with spinal cord injury for more than 25 years at The National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK. I have a particular interest in neurogenic bowel dysfunction and management and as a nurse specialist developed the first nurse-led neurogenic bowel care clinic in the spinal cord injury setting. I have also undertaken research around this topic for many years and I am now a research fellow at King’s College, London.
PhD, MSc, RN


Isabelle Cortet


1987 -> 2016:
  • Urology Department at Bichat Claude Bernard Hospital

  • Urology Department at Kremlin Bicetre Hospital

  • Blood Transfusion Centre

1982 -> 1985:
  • Hepato-Gastro-Enterology Department at Kremlin Bicetre Hospital

Hospitalization Service:
Ambulatory Surgery
External Urology Care Nurse Consultation

Occasional Oral Intervention:
SIFUD Congress
Nurse Day "Educational Activities in the Hospital"

Occasional Trainer:
Institute of Nursing Education Bichat Hospital

  • French Official Qualification for Nurses — June 1982 at APHP Antoine Béclère 92140 Clamart
  • Certificate in Clinical Ostomy Care, Institut ESFORD Paris 2003
  • Urodynamic University Diploma, Université Paris Diderot 2010


Alessio Conti

Working in the field of Spinal Cord Injuries since 2009, I have immediately focused my research on people with SCI and their caregivers. From 2011, I have also collaborated with the University of Turin in the training of nursing students with lessons and direct clinical experience in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of Turin.

I am really passionate about the educational and relational aspects of my work. Currently my PhD is aimed at the study of the issues related to self-care of people with SCI, and the impact it has on their families.
  • Registered Nurse Degree in 2008 – University of Turin, Italy
  • Master Degree in Nursing Sciences and Midwifery in 2013 – University of Turin, Italy
  • PhD Student at first year 2015 – University of Rome “Tor Vergata”


Liz Croxon

Presently Clinical Facilitator in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) Dún Laoghaire, Dublin.

Covering all areas of education in relation to complex specialised rehabilitation and also encompassing nurses from the community care setting throughout Ireland. She has extensive experience in the Spinal Cord System of Care, (SCSC) including the acute phase and rehabilitation process for over 25 years.

Works in conjunction with the Mater Hospital Dublin to provide a cross site Clinical Professional Development Programme in Spinal Column / Spinal Cord Injury Nursing, which is affiliated to University College Dublin.

An educator for the Management of the Neurogenic Bowel Dysfunction course, including a "Train the Trainer" programme for the community care setting.

Instructor for Management of Actual or Potential Aggression (MAPA) programme.

Member of the steering group in the NRH, "Pressure Ulcer to Zero" project led by the Health Service Executive.
  • RGN
  • RM
  • Certificate in Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Health Science (Clinical Teaching)


Sophia De Baere

Sophia has worked as a nurse in the rehabilitation unit of the University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium for 3 years, where patients with spinal cord injuries undergo a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program. For two years she has specialized in continence problems.
2013 -> today:
  • Incontinence rehabilitation nurse, University Hospital, Ghent

2011 -> 2013:
  • Nursing jobs and interim on different hospital wards
  • RN, Artevelde hogeschool Ghent
  • Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Ghent


An De Baeremaeker

An works as a head nurse on a ward of patients with spinal cord injuries in the rehabilitation centre of the University Hospital Ghent, Belgium.
2012 -> today:
  • Head nurse on a ward of patients with spinal cord injuries
  • Board member of the Belgian Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

2007 -> 2012:
  • Member of the staff direction nursing University Hospital Ghent

2001 -> 2007:
  • Nurse on ward of patients with acquired head injuries

1997 -> 2001:
  • Home care nursing
  • RN
  • Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Leuven
  • Postgraduate woundcare, module pressure ulcers and module basic woundcare
  • Management development program University Hospital Ghent


Lorraine Donovan

Current post: Senior Nurse for Neurosciences and ALAC at Cardiff and Vale.

High-performing manager with more than 10 years of health care experience in hospital and medical environments. Lorraine started her nursing in haematology and went from staff nurse to team leader then Deputy Sister. After a short time in the Sisters role she was asked to join a management turnaround team at the Welsh Regional Rehabilitation Centre for Spinal Injuries. During her third year she was nominated for the Manager of the Year award by her staff and achieved runner up in the finals.
B.S. Nursing


Laura Farnsworth

Laura works as a Spinal Cord Coordinator on a ward of patients with spinal cord injuries in the rehabilitation centre of the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

2013 -> today:
  • Neuro Rehab/Spinal Cord Coordinator, Frazier Rehabilitation Institute of KentuckyOne Health, Kentucky

2010 -> 2012:
  • Charge Nurse, Masonic Homes of Kentucky, Chandler Rehab House, Kentucky

2007 -> 2011:
  • Physician Liaison, American Sleep Medicine, Kentucky
  • Licensed Practical Nurse — Galen College of Nursing
  • At present studying to complete a Bachelor of Nursing Degree
  • CPR and First Aid for Health Care Providers
  • Team Approach to Bowel and Bladder Management after SCI


Debbie Green

Debbie qualified as a registered nurse over 30 years ago and has spent 25 years in senior nurse positions at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. She has a particular interest in Nurse Education and Women's Health issues.

She was recently recruited by a national charity, The Spinal Injuries Association, where she is developing a new role of nurse advocate.
BA (hons), Women's Health, Diploma Management Studies, RGN, Orthopaedic Nursing Cert, ENB 371 Nursing Patients with Spinal Cord Injury, City and Guilds 730, Further and Adult Education


Stephanie Hegarty

Studied four years General Nursing in Letterkenny I.T. After qualifying worked in an acute general surgical ward in Letterkenny University Hospital for eight months.

May 2012: I travelled to Australia and lived there for a year where I worked as an agency nurse in Sydney.

July 2013 to present: On return from Australia I gained employment in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin. I worked for 15 months in brain injury rehabilitation and then moved to the spinal cord injury ward.
  • Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in General Nursing
  • Continuous Professional Development Course in Spinal Cord Injury (Level 8)


Peter Horan

I am a Charge Nurse with respiratory lead on the Spinal Injuries and Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
My first experience with spinal cord injury was working as a live-in respite carer for people with high-level spinal injury.

This inspired me to do my nursing degree and come and work on the spinal unit in Sheffield. For my elective I worked on the Ottawa Spinal Injuries Rehab Unit.

I have worked on the acute ward with respiratory and ventilated spinal patients for most of my career. Three years ago, along with my colleague Mick Hodgkinson, I began my post as Charge Nurse with respiratory lead.

My work includes invasive and non-invasive ventilation with spinal cord injured patients, and educating health care professionals and carers in the respiratory management of their patients/clients to facilitate discharge home or to a safe destination.

We also work with children with respiratory needs undergoing transition of care from children’s to adult services, supporting and training teaching staff in the community.
RGN, BA (Hons)

 Catherine Laudignon

Catherine Laudignon

  • 26 years at Hôpital La Pitié-Salpêtrière à Paris
    • First 10 years in classical hospitalization with SCI patient management at surgical level
    • 7 years with SAMU and paediatrics
    • 3 years with kidney transplant department
  • Urology nurse technical sector since 2009
  • Active participation in the development of fusion tool for prostate biopsies
  • Urodynamic technician with English validation of Urodyn route
  • Coordinator of the Therapeutic Patient Education practice for catheterisation
  • 1990: French Official Qualification for Nurses
  • 2014: University Certificate in Therapeutic Patient Education Practice
  • 2015: University Diploma with Urologic Expertise (Masters Degree)


Janneke Martens

Janneke works as a Nurse Practitioner in the Centre for Rehabilitation at the University Hospital of Groningen in the Netherlands.
Janneke qualified as a nurse over 25 years ago. She has worked in the SCI center for over 18 years now in different positions. Since 1999 she is qualified as a continence nurse. Recently, she got her Masters degree. Her area of interest is mainly continence care (bowel and bladder management) in patients with neurological diseases.
  • 1994 - Registered Nurse, Bachelors Degree
  • 1999 - Continence Nurse
  • 2016 - Master of Advanced Nursing Practice, Msc, Hanze University of Groningen


Gareth McCay

In his youth, Gareth McCay was a budding footballer who had spent time at English Championship and Premier League clubs. After a serious injury ended his career, Gareth went back to college, obtained a law degree from the prestigious Queen’s University in Belfast and joined Northern Ireland’s largest commercial law firm.

In 2010, Gareth had an accident at home and suffered catastrophic injuries which resulted in him spending 11 months in Musgrave Park Hospital’s Spinal Rehabilitation Unit in Belfast. Gareth’s story is one of positivity, determination, and how to rebuild a life following spinal injury.


Esther Middelweerd

Esther is a nurse practitioner in the SCI Center De Hoogstraat Utrecht, Netherlands.

She specialises in wound care, continence for people with SCI and Cauda Equine patients.
2012 -> today:
  • Nurse practitioner in the out-patient care with SCI patients

1996 -> 2012:
  • Nurse on a ward with SCI patients
  • RN — Hogeschool Utrecht
  • MANP — Hogeschool Utrecht
  • Module pressure ulcer — Wound Care Society, Leiden
  • Module wound care — Wound Care Society, Leiden
  • Continence nurse — Bunnik


Paula Muter

Clinical Nurse Specialist Urology Spinal Injuries and Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Worked in Spinal Injuries Centre for over 20 years in various roles.

Currently works with the urology team providing clinical expertise to a complex group of patients who have had a spinal cord injury or spina bifida.

Involved in the transition of patients from the Sheffield Children’s Hospital who have complex neurourological problems.

Set up and manage nurse-led Cauda Equina Clinics.

Facilitate CES patient support groups.

Manage nurse-led clinics / bladder and bowel management, counselling / sexual dysfunction / rectal irrigation.

Undertaking a piece of research with Medical Psychology investigating managing the psychological needs of patients with CES.

Currently training to provide flexible cystoscopy and intravesical injection of Botulium toxin injections to patients with SCI within the hospital outpatients department.
  • RGN
  • BA (hons)

 Karen O'Donnell

Karen O'Donnell

Karen has worked in a variety of clinical ward settings as an RGN from 1988 until 2003 (staff nurse and deputy sister) and then as an RN Child (Ward Manager) from 2003 until 2013 at the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC), Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

In 2013 Karen received awards from the Spinal Injuries Association in acknowledgment of Women in Spinal Injury Awards (WISCI) and the prestigious Stephen Bradshaw Award in recognition of the pioneering work in establishing a children and young persons' unit at the NSIC.

Karen’s experiences included management of all aspects of acute care and rehabilitation for adults, children and young people with Spinal Cord Injury.
  • RGN
  • DipHE
  • RN Child

 Sara O'Shea

Sara O'Shea

Sara has worked at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville hospital, UK, for 30 years. She started work at Stoke Mandeville Hospital as an Auxiliary Nurse in 1987. Her interest in Spinal Cord Injuries began a year earlier when she was a voluntary worker at the Hospital’s Young Disabled Unit.

She began her General Nurse Training in 1988 and since qualifying has had a variety of roles within both acute services and in the rehabilitation of both adults and children with spinal cord injury.

She completed the ENB spinal course during her time as a Staff Nurse and became Ward Sister on the pre-discharge ward. During this time she became an active member of the Unit’s "Children’s Weeks". Sara became part of the team of clinicians that championed dedicated children’s services at the NSIC and in 2004 she transferred her skills solely to the then newly opened NSIC children’s ward (St Francis ward).

In 2008 Sara furthered her knowledge and skills in paediatrics by completing her Registered Children’s Nurse training. In 2010 she was involved in the ward refurbishment which equipped the ward with further facilities, equipment and resources to meet the needs of the child and family and increase the ward capacity to nine beds.

Her role now is as Ward manager which involves responsibility for all the care for children and young persons (0-19 yrs) housed on St Francis ward, as well as advice and liaison for a population of over 100 children that return for review and rehabilitation throughout the year. She also liaises nationally and internationally with others caring for and developing services for young persons with SCI.

In 2010 Sara’s "Services to Tetraplegia"were recognised by Rgain Sports Charity. In the last year Sara was part of the winning "Outstanding Team" (St Francis ward) at the 2014 SIA awards and the team was also recognised in the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Staff Awards.
  • RN
  • RSCN
  • ENB (Spinal Injuries)

 Ginger Salvadalena

Ginger Salvadalena

Ginger is the Principal Scientist, Global Clinical Affairs, at Hollister Incorporated in Chicago, Illinois where she designs and helps conduct clinical research studies.
For the past 28 years Ginger has practiced Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, first as a Medical Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist in acute care hospital practice, and since 2012 in various roles in the medical device industry.

She has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and presented to national and international audiences. She serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, and serves on multiple committees for the WOCN Society.
  • RN
  • DipHE
  • Master’s Degree, University of Washington in Seattle, Washington
  • PhD in Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago


Sören Tiedemann

2009 -> today:
  • Respiratory therapist of the SCI Department BG Klinikum Hamburg

2011 -> 2015:
  • Head of the scientific advisory board "Artificial ventilation" of the German Medical Society for Patients with SCI (DMGP)

1998 -> 2009:
  • Male nurse at the SCI Department BG Klinikum Hamburg
  • SCI-ward especially for patients with repiratory paralysis
  • IMC-SCI ward with artifical ventilation

2004 -> 2009:
  • Lecturer / Instructor for artifical ventilation for homecare nursing teams

1995 -> 1998:
  • Nursing training at the Marienkrankenhaus Hamburg
  • Respiratory therapist (completed training & in function)
  • Ward management / head nurse (completed training & in function)
  • Mentor (completed training & in function)
  • German Medical Society for Patients with SCI (DMGP)
  • International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS)
  • German Respiratory Society (DGP)
  • German Interdisciplinary Society for Homeventilation (DIGAB)
  • European Respiratory Society (ERS)


Casper van Koppenhagen

  • Ph.D. in Rehabilitation
  • Current position: Rehabilitation physician at the University Medical Center of Utrecht
  • 2012-2015: Spinal Cord Rehab Center De Hoogstraat in Utrecht
Selected published papers:
  • Post MW, van Leeuwen CM, van Koppenhagen CF et al. “Validity of the Life Satisfaction Questions, the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury.” Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Apr 3.
  • van Leeuwen CM, Hoekstra T, van Koppenhagen CF, de Groot S, Post MW. “Trajectories and predictors of the course of mental health after spinal cord injury.” Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Dec; 93(12):2170-6.
  • van Koppenhagen CF, de Groot S, Post MW, Hoekstra T, van Asbeck FW, Bongers H, Lindeman E, van der Woude LH. “Patterns of changes in wheelchair exercise capacity after spinal cord injury.” Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jul; 94(7):1260-7.
  • van Koppenhagen CF, de Groot S, Post MW, Van Asbeck FW, Spijkerman D, Faber WX, Lindeman E, van der Woude LH. “Wheelchair exercise capacity in spinal cord injury up to five years after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.” J Rehabil Med. 2013 Jul; 45(7):646-52.
  • van Koppenhagen CF, Post MW, de Groot S, van Leeuwen C, van Asbeck F, Stolwijk-Swüste J, van der Woude L, Lindeman E. “Longitudinal relationship between wheelchair exercise capacity and life satisfaction in patients with spinal cord injury: A cohort study in the Netherlands.” J Spinal Cord Med. 2014 May; 37(3):328-37.


Stida Vreede-ten Brink

1999 -> today:
  • Working in the Paediatric Hospital in the clinical and outbound clinics

1987 -> 1999:
  • Beatric Paediatric Hospital, University Medial Center Groningen in the outbound clinic

1981 -> 1987:
  • Working at a retirement home

1971 -> 1981:
  • learning as nurse entrance working on deferens departments
Nurse Consultant Paediatric Nephrology
Specialized in wound, continence and stoma care


Eva Wallace

Currently working in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) Dún Laoghaire, Dublin for over 33 years, with extensive experience in the speciality of urological care of spinal cord injury (SCI) individuals.

At present assisting in the nursing education department with an aim to increase nurse’s knowledge and skills in evidence based continence promotion and management. This includes all NRH staff and those in the community setting throughout Ireland. All courses are accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Board Ireland (NMBI) In the process in developing an animation video for neurogenic bowel management in SCI individuals.

Membership of subcommittees: Guidelines for the Prevention of Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infection - A Strategy for the Control of Antimicrobial Resistance in Ireland (SARI).

Member of the guideline development group: Guidelines for the Management of Neurogenic Bowel Dysfunction after Spinal Cord Injury.

Annual adjudicator for European Association of Urology Nurses (EAUN).
  • RGN
  • RM
  • Certificates in: Accident and Emergency Nursing, Rehabilitation Nursing, Continence Promotion, Urodynamics
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management


Andreas Wendl

2010 -> today:
  • Head nurse at the SCI Department, BG Klinikum Hamburg

1995 -> 2010:
  • Head nurse at the SCI Department BG Trauma Center in Tübingen

1985 -> 2010:
  • Male nurse at the SCI Department BG Trauma Center in Tübingen

1982 -> 1985:
  • Nursing education at the University Hospital Tübingen
  • Ward - management
  • Management of chronicle wounds (ICW)
  • Member of the DMGP workgroup "nurses"


Amber Wighman

Amber is following the Master Advanced Nursing Practice in Leiden and works in Rehabilitation Centre Reade, Netherlands.
She specialises in wound care for people with spinal cord injuries, acquired brain injury and amputation.
2015 -> today:
  • Following: Master Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Specialization:
    • Wound Care
    • Sexuality and Intimacy

2013 -> 2015:
  • Nurse on ward of patients with spinal cord injuries