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Date: 23 April 2021

Time: 01:01

Staff looking forward to new Children’s Emergency Department

Story posted/last updated: 10 March 2021

Back in 2012, paediatric emergency nurse Ronia Kativu began working at Good Hope Hospital.

Having moved to the Midlands from London to be closer to family, Ronia knew that paediatric emergency medicine was where she wanted to progress her career. As she says, “Once you have the heart for it, you can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Now a sister within the Good Hope Hospital team, Ronia is looking forward to the new Children’s Emergency Department (ED) opening later in 2021.

Paediatric emergency nurse Ronia Kativa

She has seen many changes during her time - the paediatric ED team has grown considerably to reflect both the higher level of patient acuity and the number of children and young people treated within the department.

Ronia, who lives with her family in Cannock, explains, “Our numbers really have increased over the years. I remember when I joined the team I think there were about five of us. Having been in a ‘paediatric bubble’ in London, it was quite different to be part of an integrated adult/paediatric team where there were shared areas and responsibilities.

"The team has grown so much and now we have a tight-knit paediatric team of about 15 nurses with our own clinicians including advanced care practitioners and emergency nurse practitioners. These roles show just how far the team has developed over the years. We are also lucky to have play specialists and our own health care assistants for clinical support.  We offer a child and family-centred service and the team all support each other as I think we’re all naturally caring and nurturing people.”

The reputation of the team has meant that families now travel to them for care. Ronia and the team appreciate they are often the first emergency healthcare professionals a child has met so do everything they can to ensure it’s as positive an experience as possible. As Ronia explains: “We know that sometimes this is a patient’s first ever visit to ED and it’s really important as it colours how people feel about hospitals as adults – we don’t want to ruin it and give them anxiety.

"The thing which gives me the most satisfaction is seeing children leave with sticker and smiles on their faces. They might have entered the department in distress, and their family in distress, but we are the ones who can turn this around and show them care and compassion.”

Under the leadership of Paula Lane, Lead Nurse, the team’s reputation was further bolstered when they became the first hospital outside London to facilitate high flow transfers of paediatric patients. A new protocol was developed which meant senior nurses could transfer patients out of the department on portable trolleys with oxygen. This meant intensive care retrieval teams from receiving hospitals no longer needed to visit Good Hope to collect patients.

The new ED department will include a bespoke paediatric high-dependency bed which the team haven’t had before as they share with the adult team currently. As Ronia explains: “The new building means we will have our own dedicated areas, our own space, and this will really make a difference. Children don’t need to see some of the things we deal with in adult ED and I’m so excited that they will have this space designed for their needs.”

The new bed also means that the team can expand their active teaching programme, giving staff the opportunity to enhance their skills in a brand new learning environment. 

Teaching is one of the areas which Ronia has seen develop during her time at Good Hope. As she explains: “There are so many different directions you can go with your career now – different skill sets and chances to develop your practice. The team is really passionate about teaching and it’s lovely to be part of a team which places value on improving and enhancing its skills.”

Despite the challenging environment the team is working in currently, its members are doing their best to make the ED experience as child-centred as possible. They wear colourful face masks on which they draw illustrations and Ronia is a big fan of colourful head coverings, wind-up toys and singing a song or two: “Wearing a mask won’t stop me doing my best.

“When you work in emergency medicine, the days fly by. You’re always kept on your toes and you’re never sure what you’re going to be dealing with that day. It’s really lovely when children have had such a good experience with us that they don’t want to be discharged!  At the end of every shift I reflect on what’s gone well and how the team has worked hard to give each child and their family as positive an experience as possible.”

The new Children’s Emergency Department will provide eight treatment cubicles and a new reception space, as well as a quiet room and well-being room. It also means that more space can be dedicated to treating adult patients in the area vacated by the current children’s department.

The entrance to the new unit will remain in its existing location, with a new ambulance entrance and drop-off area. Paediatric patients will have their own waiting area and separate corridor spaces.

University Hospitals Birmingham Charity will also be contributing to the project, providing those "over and above" elements which will help make the environment as comfortable as possible for children and young people.

Ronia concludes: “I can’t wait for the new department to open. It will be a child-friendly and family-centred space, designed around the needs of our youngest patients.  We have a proud history at Good Hope and I’m excited to be working here as we look to providing excellent care in the future.”

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