Me & My Job: Meet PH professional Val Irvine

Every quarter, our member magazine Emphasis introduces readers to someone who works within the UK’s network of specialist pulmonary hypertension centres. Val Irvine, Senior Research Nurse with the Sottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Glasgow, features in the winter 2017 issue.


How long have you worked with PH patients?
For 20 years now. I started as a staff nurse on the respiratory ward, and in 2004 became a research nurse for the SPVU research portfolio. With the help of patients, we’ve run studies contributing to the licensing of nearly all of the modern PH specific medicines. A large part of my role now concerns the big genetics research studies in collaboration with Cambridge University and all of the PH centres in the UK. It has been a complicated project; challenging, but with seriously awe-inspiring aims, which I am proud to be associated with.

What does your job involve?
Busy times would generally be associated with taking patients through research activities, and as this is a lot more exciting than the desk-based parts of my job, I look forward to it. But there is a lot of data handling, one way or another, which isn’t as dull as you would think since it concerns people I have met – who all have an interesting clinical story.

What is the best thing about your job?
Undoubtedly, the patients. One particular joy is to know patients who were at the very start of their PH journey when I first met them in the early years. I get to spend a lot of time with individuals taking part in certain studies, which is a distinct bonus of the job.

What’s on your desk?
Lots! Laptop, project files, filing pending, in-tray, and of course my paper diary and some scrap paper and notebooks. There’s also my tea cup, water bottle, and currently a copy of the PHA UK Financial Support booklet. The overall look is not minimalistic.

What do you like to snack on at work?
I bring a pear or an apple to quell hunger pangs between meals, but when I’m with patients I’m a lot less distracted by hunger and thirst.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I enjoy cooking and baking, reading, and exercise classes. I have ambitions to foster more worthy projects, such as further education, and to put my new(ish) sewing machine to good use – instead of letting it gather dust in the corner!




Last medically reviewed: February, 2018 • February, 2021