Nursing in our Surgery Unit

Working here Nathan Askew

The Surgery Unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) incorporates six clinical areas, as well as theatres, recovery and Paediatric Intensive Care (PICU).

It is a fast-paced and exciting place to work, and staff members are currently leading on a multitude of GOSH Transformation projects, ensuring the unit offers a world class service to its patients and meets the hospital’s targets of No Waits, No Waste and Zero Harm.

Staff work closely with children and families to provide the highest standards of nursing care and reduce the stress and anxiety of hospital admission. Staff have a diverse workload and work as one large team, ensuring effective professional relationships and support networks for all. There is also a strong focus on education and personal and professional development to ensure that the care they provide is evidence-based and best practice.

Puffin Ward: Same Day Admission Unit

Children coming to GOSH for certain operations and investigations come to Puffin Same Day Admission Unit before being taken to theatre. The ward co-ordinates preadmission clinics and carries out pre-operative investigations (such as bloods, X-rays and scans). It is a rapidly growing service, whose team strives to provide continuity of care to children and families undergoing surgery from many disciplines.  

Woodpecker Unit

Woodpecker acts as one of the key areas for surgery at GOSH by providing an efficient daycare service, ensuring inpatient beds are available for children who require more complex surgery. It is a nurse-led unit - nursing staff work with a degree of autonomy and make essential decisions relating to the care of the children within the unit, including assessing patients’ suitability for day surgery, discharging patients and providing a post-discharge telephone follow-up service.

Many specialities utilise the service offered by Woodpecker - nurses working in the unit therefore have excellent working relationships with numerous surgical teams within the hospital, as well as theatres and anaesthetic staff. Woodpecker works in partnership with Puffin Ward (staff rotate between the two units) and also with key areas such as pharmacy and transport.

Sky Ward: Orthopaedic and spinal surgery

Sky Ward provides high-level nursing care to children following orthopaedic and spinal surgery. The ward has a high turnover of patients, and also accepts patients undergoing a variety of general surgical, ear, nose and throat (ENT), maxillofacial, urological, ophthalmology and daycare procedures.  

Children are encouraged to maintain as much independence as possible during their stay - all areas of the ward have been designed to be fully accessible to children with a range of disabilities. Sky Ward has a dedicated multi-disciplinary team - every member is vital in ensuring that the child and family have a comfortable hospital stay with appropriate organised discharge.  

Squirrel Ward: Neonatal, general and urology surgery

Squirrel Ward is a neonatal, general and urology surgical ward, and one of only two centres in the UK that accepts patients with bladder exstrophy. Patients are admitted as booked admissions, discharges from NICU and PICU and emergency referrals, ensuring a constant mix of short-term general surgery and long-term children requiring ongoing specialist treatment. Many of the children are by nature high dependency and require a high level of nursing and medical care

Squirrel Ward is comprised of young and friendly staff who strive to make recovery from surgery as fast and pleasurable as possible for all children and their families. The team is committed to the education and development of its members and values the role each individual plays in the care and support of children and their families.

Peter Pan Ward: ENT, plastic surgery, maxillofacial

Peter Pan Ward provides care for children who require ear, nose and throat (ENT), cleft lip and palate, maxillofacial, dental, plastic and cochlear implant surgery. The ward provides pre- and post-operative care to children with complex and artificial airways, tracheostomies, nasal prongs and nasal stents. These children and their families need a wide range of nursing interventions to stabilise their condition and promote their recovery.

Nursing staff on Peter Pan Ward work closely with parents to help them become competent at caring for their child’s artificial airway or feeding device once they have been discharged home. It is the ideal environment for nurses looking to increase their pre and post-operative nursing skills, become competent at looking after artificial airways in non-ventilated children, increase their knowledge of wound healing, work in partnership with parents and join a dynamic team.