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Our values: Care with compassion, Respect and dignity, Striving to excel, Professional standards, Working together
Meet our Marvellous Roald Dahl Nurse!

Meet our Marvellous Roald Dahl Nurse!

Emily Bell.JPG

We are delighted to introduce Emily Bell, our new Roald Dahl Paediatric Epilepsy/Neurology Specialist Nurse. Emily is the first Roald Dahl nurse in Kent, and the first to work with one of NHS England’s 50 Vanguard sites – The Foundation Healthcare Group.

She joined the paediatric team at Darent Valley Hospital on 3 July following an innovative recruitment process. Emily and several other candidates were interviewed by clinicians, admin staff, a representative from Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity and parents of children under the team’s care. Each candidate worked their way round five different stations which represented the Trust’s core values – care with compassion, respect and dignity, striving to excel, professional standards, and working together. The interviewers at each station had prepared questions connected to these values as it is essential that each member of staff at the Trust embodies these on a day to day basis.

Following Emily’s successful interview, she has now joined the team at Darent Valley Hospital and is coming towards the end of her three-week induction period. We thought this was a good time to sit down with her to find out more about her role and how she will be supporting our young patients with epilepsy and their families.

1. Welcome Emily! We are all really excited that you’ve joined us. How have your first few weeks in the role been?
Thank you, I’m really excited to be here and to get started! I’m in my final week of induction now and then I will be going out into the community to meet with other nurses in order to better understand their roles. I’ll also be going to Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which provides highly specialised paedatric care, to meet with the consultants and nurses I will be working with. I have an honorary contract with the Evelina as part of the Vanguard programme and having access to their expertise is very reassuring. Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity also provides ongoing training and support to all its nurses so I feel very grateful to be one of them! It’s great for me to have all these contacts I can go to for advice and support as otherwise the role could be quite isolating.

2. What did you think about the recruitment process?
I’d never been through this kind of interview process before but I really enjoyed it! I really liked the way the Trust’s values were incorporated into the interview and that parents were part of the panel asking questions from their perspective.

After I had been offered the role I was also invited to the ‘Tea and Talking’ paediatric neurology patient engagement event in May where I met many of the people I will be working with including patients, their families, representatives from the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity and Young Epilepsy, as well as clinicians from both Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Evelina London Children’s Hospital. I was made to feel very welcome and the fact that Susan Acott, Dartford and Gravesham’s Chief Executive, also attended made me feel really supported.

3. Will you be working with children and young people with epilepsy at all stages of their diagnosis?
Yes. Most of my patients will come through the first seizure clinic, which is a new pathway set up through the Vanguard programme in order to speed up patients’ access to specialist care. I will also see returning children who have been diagnosed with epilepsy and will be providing ongoing support to them and their families. I will be based in the community one day a week to offer training and support, and GPs and school nurses will also be able to refer patients to me.

4. How will you be supporting patients and their families?
I will be working with patients and their families to produce a care plan tailored to each individual and their needs. I will be backing that up with weekly telephone consultations to see how the plan is working. I’m aware that the team currently receive three or four calls from each family per week so I’m hoping these scheduled ‘check-in’ calls will help the families feel more supported and I will be better able to keep track of each patient’s progress. Part of my role also involves going to local schools to meet with nurses and teachers to provide training on how best to support children with epilepsy.

5. What excites you about the role?
I’m excited to offer the best possible service to patients and their families. I’m really looking forward to working with Dr Chinwe Ude, Paediatric Consultant at Darent Valley Hospital, because she’s so passionate and I’m hoping we will spark off each other! It’s clear that I have a tremendous amount of support from the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Chilren’s Charity and the Vanguard programme, and this will help drive me forward. Dartford and Gravesham is such a lovely trust to come and work for – from day one everybody has been incredibly friendly and supportive. I can’t wait to get stuck in!

Find out more about Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity and the Foundation Healthcare Group Vanguard partnership between Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.