Immunology and infectious diseases

Robin Ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) specialises in the management of children with immunological disorders and infectious diseases including those who require blood and marrow transplants. It is one of only two paediatric immunology units in the UK.

Robin Ward is also the infectious diseases isolation unit for the hospital and can provide high dependency nursing care.

Holly Sharron, Staff Nurse, Band 5

Holly lives in Kent and qualified as a nurse 18 months ago. She trained at London South Bank University after turning down a scholarship to study music at degree level when she left school. Holly likes shopping and says she is currently struggling to learn to drive.

What conditions do you treat on Robin Ward?

We treat patients from different clinical specialities, such as immunology and infectious diseases. The patients we treat might have no immune system and require a blood and marrow transplant (BMT), or they might have HIV or tuberculosis (TB).

Why did you decide to come and work at GOSH, and on Robin Ward in particular?

I did a placement at GOSH while I was training at university, working on the intensive care unit, Ladybird Ward (now Bear Ward) and then finally Robin Ward. I loved the team and when I finished my placement was desperate for a job there. Six months after I finished I had a call from the sister on Robin Ward, who had remembered me, saying a job had come up and asking if I wanted to apply. I was thrilled and jumped at the chance!

What skills can you hope to learn working here?

A really broad range that is definitely transferable. The line experience I have gained is extensive, and I always think that even though we see lots of our patients every day, no two days are ever the same.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I enjoy seeing children progress through their treatment, even if it seems like they are only taking tiny steps. Watching a patient go from requiring total parenteral nutrition (TPN) to a milk feed might seem like a small change, but at the time, it's huge progress for the family and the clinical team.

What are the challenges?

It is obviously very hard when one of our patients dies, especially if we see them make the transition from aggressive treatment to palliative care. Luckily, we really look after each other and support each other.

Do you think it suits certain types of personalities?

I think nursing on Robin Ward suits people who are approachable and have a good sense of humour, but at the same time always maintain good standards of professionalism. People considering working here should also realise that while there will be some days when you are rushed off your feet, there will be others when it is much quieter.

Would you encourage others to work at GOSH and in particular, on Robin Ward?

Definitely - you get so much support from senior members of the team, and so much experience treating patients with a broad range of conditions.