Inpatient haematology and oncology team

The Inpatient haematology and oncology team are based on Lion Ward and Elephant Ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). They are part of a large haematology and oncology department caring for children from birth to 12 years of age.

They are part of a unified centre with University College London Hospitals (UCLH) who treat children 13 years and over.

The team work in partnership with the community teams and paediatric oncology shared care units (POSCU) in order to provide the highest quality of care for children and their families.

Michelle da Silva, Senior Staff Nurse, Band 6

Michelle has worked at GOSH since 2004. She moved to the Trust when paediatric oncology services moved over from the Royal London Hospital. Michelle is a keen runner who has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember.

What conditions do you treat on Lion and Elephant Wards?

We treat children with cancer, from blood to solid tumours. We see patients with the more common forms of leukaemia to those with rarer cancers such as neuroblastoma.

Why did you decide to come and work at GOSH?

I always wanted to work in a paediatric environment and came to work at the hospital when paediatric oncology services moved here from the Royal London Hospital.

Have you worked on other wards and if so how do they differ?

I briefly worked on the neonatal intensive care ward at the Royal London Hospital. I found the environment quite regimented. I like that on Lion Ward we have the opportunity to interact with our patients and families and we get to meet and work with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

What skills can someone joining the team hope to learn?

After about a year working here, nurses can undertake the chemotherapy competency course which lasts around six months. This is hugely valuable and highly transferable - it's required for community and outreach nursing.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

The interaction we have with our families, most of whom are on the ward for between six and nine months. I love seeing a patient with a smile on their face or laughing. Children can be so resilient even when they are undergoing intensive and very aggressive forms of treatment.

What are the challenges?

It is very difficult seeing patients who relapse or when we have to deliver bad news to families.

Tell us something people might not know about the Haematology and Oncology department.

That it's really enjoyable and fun working here! I sometimes think people assume it must be doom and gloom because obviously the patients are very sick, but it's not.

Would you encourage others to work here?

I would, oncology nursing offers a lifelong challenge. There is so much to learn in the field.