Meet the St Mark’s twins who have identical careers – and awards

Next time you visit St Mark’s Hospital pouch nurse department you may think you are seeing double! Read a profile of the famous St. Mark’s Hospital pouch nurse twins.

Christoper Browne, Roar! editor writes…..

Petya and Rali Maranova. Their names may be different but that’s probably the only feature the two St Mark’s Hospital stoma and pouchcare nurses don’t have in common. Almost everything else about them is identical.

The twins were both born and brought up in Bulgaria and while they were at school their parents moved to Italy, the intrepid duo later joining them and then jointly deciding to train as nurses. 

We always liked the idea of nursing and our parents kept encouraging us to consider it as well as they thought it would be a great fit for us,” says Petya. 

So the twins studied for their nursing degrees while they worked on the wards of local Italian hospitals. “Almost as soon as we started our clinical placements we knew that we wanted to look after stoma and pouch patients,” adds Petya. 

Their next move was to Ireland where they worked on several general surgery and colorectal wards, commuting to Italy’s world-famous Padua University to study for their masters’ degrees in stomacare and incontinence rehabilitation. Both were awarded honours degrees. 

Two years ago [in 2019], after spending a year in the urology ward of a London hospital, the twins joined St Mark’s HospitalRali as a specialist stoma nurse and Petya as a specialist pouch nurse [She is now the hospital’s lead nurse for pouch- and stomacare]. 

Joining St Mark’s has been an incredible opportunity and a dream of ours, and we couldn’t be happier to be part of this amazing place and especially our team – with everyone always being very welcoming, supportive and caring,” the twins said.

We have gained great experience in looking after stoma, enterocutaneous fistulae and pouch patients on both acute wards and in nurse-led clinics as well as participating in research, department audits, protocols development and in-house staff education,” they said. 

The twins recently gained national recognition when they won the silver medal in the 2023 BJN (British Journal of Nursing) awards in the Stoma Nurse of the Year category and gained four nominations and a “highly commended” in the 2022 Nursing Times and Association of Stoma Care Nurses awards.

Petya commented: “This is a joint team silver – or runners-up medal – for the St Mark’s stoma- and pouchcare team. We are very proud of this achievement and hope to continue doing amazing nursing work for all our patients.

But how do this incorrigible pair cope when hospital staff, patients and families can’t tell one from the other and mix up their names and identities? “I think it was confusing for our colleagues at first, but now they can tell us apart – most of the time,” quips Petya

The Bulgarian-born sisters have identical interests too. At their home near the hospital, they have a small menagerie of pets, enjoy a mutual love of baking and are fanatical Liverpool FC supporters.

Petya & Rali with the St. Mark’s Pouch Nurse team at BJN awards ceremony.

A version of this article first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of ROAR! If you would like to read other articles like this, why not become a member of the Red Lion Pouch Support group? You will receive printed copy of ROAR! twice a year and have online access to archive ROAR! editions going all the way back to issue number 1, published in 1994. See for further information.

Gary Bronziet