The Paediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant team are based on Fox Ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). They specialise in the care of children undergoing all types of haematopoietic stem cell transplants (BMT) for haematological, oncological, immunological, rheumatological and metabolic disorders.
The ward is supported by a team of Clinical Nurse Specialists who co-ordinate both inpatient and outpatient care and act as a resource for shared care hospitals and community teams.
Katie Mottram, Staff Nurse, Band 5
Katie is a Band 5 staff nurse who has worked at GOSH for 18 months. She completed her nursing training at the hospital where she rotated around five different wards, including Fox Ward. Her immediate family all work in the medical profession so nursing was a natural career choice for her. Outside of work Katie is a keen runner and recently completed a 10K charity race.
Why did you decide to come and work at GOSH, and on Fox Ward in particular?
I came to work at GOSH because it is the best children's hospital in Britain. I knew from my training that Fox Ward was a great place to work and I think the training opportunities provided here are second to none.
What conditions do you treat on Fox Ward?
We treat children with malignant and non-malignant metabolic and immune disorders. We also look after children with haemaglobinopathies and other related conditions.
What does your role involve?
As a staff nurse, the main aspect of my role is as an IV giver. We are also responsible for making sure patients are washed and generally looked after, observations are taken and fluid balances are strictly monitored.
What skills do you think a nurse working on Fox Ward needs?
You need to be IV competent and willing to learn about the medicines you will be required to administer to patients. All nurses on Fox Ward work to become chemotherapy competent. I am currently doing a course to achieve this.
What types of personalities does it suit?
You need to be flexible - with the best will in the world, following a to-do list on any given day just isn't possible. You need to be able to both prioritise and delegate your responsibilities. You also need to have a meticulous knack for timekeeping!
Being able to take criticism is also important. I always try and empathise with parents who might need to 'let off steam'. Patients on Fox Ward are long-term inpatients so it is almost inevitable parents will experience times when they feel under pressure and become stressed.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I really enjoy seeing patients making an improvement. Helping a child to stop vomiting or bringing their pain under control is hugely satisfying. When they're here, our patients undergo very intensive treatment and are visibly unwell so helping them to be comfortable is both paramount and pleasing.
What are the challenges?
It can be difficult when patients come in and we have to take over the care-giving role from their parents. For example, telling a parent of a newborn baby they have to stop breast-feeding is difficult because you're breaking a parenting routine they've established. We work closely with families in these situations, to find a balance that works for both sides and doesn't compromise the medical care the patient requires.
Is there a particular experience that has given you great satisfaction working here?
It sounds like a cliché but there have really been too many to mention. So many children pass through our ward and go home well and I love that.
Would you encourage others to work at GOSH and in particular, on Fox Ward?
I definitely would. The nursing staff have a great rapport with the consultants, who are very good at listening to us and answering any questions we have. They are always willing to talk us through things, and when one of our patients sadly dies we have a full de-brief as a team.
Did you ever think twice about applying for a role at GOSH?
No I didn't. I knew I wanted to work here, so once I'd finished my degree I put an application in to Fox Ward straight away!