Nigel Mills is the Adolescent Clinical Nurse Specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Find out how he helps teenagers communicate with other hospital staff, and prepare for adult health services, in our podcast presented by TeenGOSH patient Mitchell.
Mitchell: “You’re listening to a TeenGOSH podcast all about who’s who at Great Ormond Street Hospital. My name is Mitchell and I’m 18 years old. I came to GOSH at about a week old for craniofacial surgery. Let me introduce you to some of the people you might meet if you come to GOSH as a teenager.”
Nigel: “I’m Nigel Mills, and I’m the Adolescent Clinical Nurse Specialist.”
Mitchell: “So, what do you do at the hospital?”
Nigel: “My main job really is advocating for young people that come into hospital – that could be patients and siblings, so that’s brothers and sisters of patients who come into the hospital. Trying to improve their experiences and to make sure the hospital meets the needs of young people.”
Mitchell: “What kind of things do you support teenage patients with?”
Nigel: “A lot of what I do is based around getting doctors to talk and explain what treatments and medications do, giving young people the chance to speak for themselves, I help young people make sense of their experiences while they’re in hospital and also to make sure people are aware of what’s happening in their lives outside of hospital. Experiences, friends, school – things like that that we need to think about as well.”
Mitchell: “Why do teenagers need their own adolescent nurse specialist?”
Nigel: “Because the needs of young people are different from those of younger children. We’re a big hospital with a lot of little children in it and we need somebody that speaks up for and advocates for older people that come in.”
Mitchell: “How do you help other staff communicate with your teenage patients?”
Nigel: “I’m really lucky in that I’m very independent, I’m not part of any other medical team or surgical team, which means I can talk to them as an outsider in a way. I can join forces with the young person and be their advocate. It’s actually often about getting the young people to speak to the nurses and the doctors because they feel a little shy and a little intimidated, and a little bit withdrawn because they’re in a strange atmosphere. So it’s my job to make sure that they have a voice and that they are listened to.”
Mitchell: “How do you help young people move on to adult health care?”
Nigel: “I work in several ways. I sit in some transition clinics and then I work with individual patients preparing them with the life skills that they need to get ready for adult health services. Things like making their own appointments, taking care of their own medicines, how to order them, helping them understand what the difference between paediatric services and adult services is going to be.”
Mitchell: “How can people get in touch with you if they want to?”
Nigel: “If you’re an inpatient you can ask one of the members of staff and they’ll put you in touch with me. If you’re not in the hospital my details are on the web page.
Mitchell: “OK, and last question what is your favourite thing about working for the hospital?”
Nigel: “I think it’s the people I meet and the stories I hear and what I learn about people – their lives – outside the hospital. How people are coping with their illnesses and treatments. It’s really rewarding and I really enjoy it.”
Mitchell: “You’ve been listening to a TeenGOSH podcast from Great Ormond Street Hospital. For more information about being a teenager at GOSH visit our website – www.gosh.nhs.uk/teenagers