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What do you do, Ellie?

Ellie is a senior staff nurse
Colourful question marks drawn by a child

""May 2023

What do you do?

My current role is senior staff nurse on Beach ward short stay surgery. Once the new children’s day surgery unit opens, I will be moving over there to be a clinical nurse manager.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

My mum was a nurse at St Thomas' Hospital, so it was always in the back of my mind and I have always enjoyed working with children. I qualified from London Southbank University with a postgraduate diploma in children’s nursing in 2018, having previously completed a BSc in childhood studies at the University of Bristol.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about making sure that if a child has to be in hospital that they have the best experience possible. Day surgery has really become a passion for me, as coming into hospital for a procedure is often very daunting and scary for children, especially if they haven't been in hospital before or if they have had previous traumatic experiences. This applies to the parents as well, and making sure that they have the best time possible is important to me.

I have developed a real interest in improving patient experience. I’ve been helping to plan how the new unit can run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We have tested this on Beach ward before we try out pathways in the new unit, and have had some brilliant feedback from families so I am really excited for us to open!

What are you working on at the moment?

I have recently been awarded a scholarship to work on a project for the new children’s day surgery unit. The aim is to reduce anxiety around procedures and coming into hospital, by giving access to virtual reality tours of the unit from home, to help them familiarise themselves with the environment before they come in.

What are your proudest moments?

I am particularly proud of the implementation of a new discharge pathway on Beach ward. This reduces the time patients have to spend on the ward when it is not clinically necessary, which benefits both the family and the unit. I took ownership of this project as part of my leadership and management course and learnt so much as it involved collecting feedback, trialling new ways of working and analysing data. The new pathway is now standard practice on Beach ward, and a number of other wards have approached me with the hope of implementing the process in their areas, and it will also be how we operate in the new children’s day surgery unit!

I was also really proud to be awarded the scholarship. It’s a brilliant opportunity to support my career development and is unique to Evelina London in that I can focus on what I am passionate about, learn on the job and be supported with qualifications and travel to do this!

What has surprised you about your career so far?

I surprised myself by actually enjoying the data collection side of my project! Completing audits has always sounded like a boring and tedious task but when you can see actual positive results from a project that you have worked really hard on, it feels like much more of an achievement. The data showed high levels of patient,family and staff satisfaction, which is great when trying to encourage or introduce other units to this way of working. 

What’s next for you?

As part of my scholarship, I received funding to attend an international conference about the use of virtual reality in medicine, which I attended last month. I learnt so much about using VR to manage pain, reduce anxiety and its role in paediatric care, so I can’t wait to apply this to my work in the new children’s day surgery unit. My new role will involve the day to day running of the unit, managing and motivating the team and continually looking for different and new ways of working to improve the service and patient experience.

What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing?

I would say go for it, if you are passionate about caring for people and improving their lives then it is a great career to have. The people you work with become really close friends, and I love that you also meet people from all walks of life and learn new things every day. The gratitude that patients and their families have towards you, even if you feel like you have done something really minor, is one of the best things about the job.

Colourful question marks drawn by a child

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