Meet the epilepsy nurse specialist

If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, you might have some questions to ask:

BernieCan I go on school trips?
Can I still go on sleep-overs?
How will the drugs affect me?
What happens if I forget to take my tablets?
Can I still do the things my friends do?
I want to be a professional footballer when I’m older? Will I still be able to?
The doctor might know a lot about epilepsy - bursts of electricity in the brain and so on - but it’s you that has to live with it.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital has a special nurse whose job it is to help you do that.

Sometimes, especially when you’re in a clinic with a doctor, your mind goes blank.

Bernie Concannon, the epilepsy nurse specialist, tries to see you soon after diagnosis.  There are many different kinds of epilepsy. In fact, having epilepsy is different for everyone. 

Bernie likes to hear what having epilepsy means to you and answer any questions you have at a time when it’s easier to think straight.

Sometimes she will see older children separately from their parents – we all have things we don’t want to discuss in front of our mum or dad.

She can help you think up ways to remember to take your tablets and tell you what you need to do if you forget.

If you are worried about your tablets, for whatever reason, she can help. There might be other options available.

Bernie encourages older teenagers to learn to take responsibility for looking after themselves so they can manage when they leave home. She helps parents with that bit too.

People with epilepsy often have other needs as well. They might need to see a speech therapist, or a physiotherapist, or a local paediatrician.

Bernie can help parents and carers co-ordinate their dealings with social services and education services and all sorts of other people. 

She can be contacted on the phone or on 0121-333-8184 or by email.

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