International and Private Care Nurses Reflect on 2021
This past year, nurses have faced the ongoing challenge of meeting patient needs during a pandemic. At GOSH, we are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the achievements and ambitions of our nursing teams as they seek to improve the care of some of the most complex and seriously ill children from across the globe.
“Over the last year I have been incredibly proud of the nursing and healthcare team in International and Private Care for their flexibility and ‘can do’ attitude”
- Claudia Tomlin, Matron (pictured above)
Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit
The Great Ormond Street Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit is the largest paediatric BMT centre in the UK and provides a comprehensive haematopoietic stem cell transplant service for children with life-threatening haematological, immunological, metabolic, rheumatological and gastroenterological conditions.
During the pandemic we have managed to treat the same number of BMT patients that we have done in previous years, even though some elective transplants were deferred in the acute phase of the pandemic.
We have started to run more telehealth clinics, which enables the family to be reviewed in their home country without the need to fly during the pandemic, but still enables them to have real-time interactions with our clinical experts.
“We would all like families to feel more secure in the knowledge that the team are now just at the end of a ZOOM call when they have returned to their home country if they, or their local teams, have any questions or queries.”
Lindsey Young, Trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner at GOSH's BMT Unit
Butterfly ward consists of 18 inpatient beds and 4 day care/ambulatory beds where we treat the rarest and most complex forms of paediatric malignant and non-malignant haematological and oncological conditions, as well as children with immunological problems and those requiring bone marrow transplant and CAR-T therapy.
Throughout the past twelve months, the ward has continued to safely provide care and treatment without disruption to cohort of patients despite the pandemic. Staff also utilised their knowledge and flexibility to open doors to provide 24/7 care for the cancer patients from the North Central London region requiring shared care – this was because their usual points of entry were closed or converted to provide additional capacity to care for adult patients with Covid-19.
Butterfly ward also welcomed a team of Aspirant nurses, a new role developed in response to the global pandemic, which gave students an optional choice to work as paid health care assistants. All of these nurses have now qualified as registered nurses, and have chosen to stay as part of the Butterfly team where they have gone on to achieve their clinical competencies.
The International and Private Care Education Team are committed to providing a high quality learning environment for all nurses within the directorate to help them to become confident and competent in providing high quality, holistic care.
The team have a broad remit and cover everything from supporting new starters to achieve their competencies, participating in the delivery of Trust initiatives, working with the divisional management team to create education visions, working alongside ward managers to implement various strategies for the wards and supporting performance management processes.
This year has seen the team enable nurses to access a variety of foundation and fundamental courses as well as specialty specific academic modules, support staff induction across our ward areas, reinforce links with other directorates by running our local induction and foundation study days together, train as BLS (including tracheostomy BLS) instructors to allow the hospital to train parents and carers and participate in the initiation and roll out of trust wide projects including FIT testing, as well as flu and Covid vaccination administration.
As part of the response to the Covid pandemic, the team worked alongside colleagues to support staff to learn new skills to allow them to work with a completely different cohort of patients. The education team were a visible presence on the wards throughout the first wave to offer advice, guidance and encouragement as our teams coped with adapting to an ever changing situation.
During the pandemic the team needed to find innovative ways to support a number of new starters and rose to the challenge of teaching skills and competencies in a virtual classroom given the ongoing needs for social distancing.
The past year has seen our GOSH nursing team achieve so much – from delivering care to our own cohort of patients, to stepping up and meeting the needs of the cohort of general paediatric patients; answering the call to support internal and external redeployment; quickly forming new teams with colleagues from different areas of the Trust; learning new skills to meet the changing demands of the children accessing our care and doing all of this whilst anxious for their own friends and families.
“I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s response and the willingness to step out of comfort zones during this truly extraordinary period.”
- Kate Rivett, Head of Nursing & Patient Experience