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Behind the scenes at The National

Rarely in the spotlight, the staff at The National Hospital do incredible work day in, day out. We managed to catch a few minutes with the very busy Matron Liz Davies to ask her about her role and how your support helps the patients she treats.

Liz, what does your role as Matron entail?
The Matrons’ role is to ensure that the care and overall experience patients and their carers receive is consistently the best possible. As well as overseeing the quality of care patients receive in our hospitals, we are available to hear about concerns or positive feedback. We act as patients’ advocates and where necessary, any issues raised will be addressed on your behalf. We provide a voice for the nurses of UCLH to ensure they feel supported and valued both as people and professionals. I have been in post since March 2011 and directly line manage Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Ward Sisters.

What does a normal day look like?
I speak to the nurses in charge of each of my ward areas in the morning to ensure that their staffing is adequate and to check whether they have specific concerns about any patients. I will visit the wards to talk to staff, patients and their families to ensure that they are happy with the care they are being given. I arrange regular one to one meetings with the staff that I directly line-manage and  liaise with our facilities and catering department to ensure that support services are adequate within the hospital. I then might have a Trust-wide nursing meeting to attend or a Divisional meeting at Queen Square and put systems in place to ensure that we deliver the best quality of care to all our patients.

What inspired you to go into nursing, particularly in the field of neurological conditions?
Whilst I was a student nurse at The University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, I was allocated to an acute neurology ward where I worked both day and night duty. I thoroughly enjoyed the learning and patient care and immediately felt that this was an area of nursing that I wanted to pursue when I qualified.  Unfortunately, during this time my aunt, who was in her late thirties and had two young daughters, passed away following a subarachnoid haemorrhage. I remember feeling very upset and helpless and thinking that I wanted to do something useful for other patients and families who may be experiencing similar traumas.

Once qualified as a nurse, my first post was on an acute care of the elderly ward in Cardiff. I enjoyed caring for these patients, however my burning desire to pursue neuroscience nursing would not go away. As there were no vacant posts on offer in Cardiff at the time, I decided to apply for a post at NHNN. Even though I found London overwhelming at the time I have no regrets about taking the plunge and coming to work here.

Which wards do you now oversee?
I currently oversee David Ferrier Ward, John Young Ward, Albany Rehabilitation Unit, Neuro Rehabilitation Unit and the Day Care Unit at NHNN as well as the Hyperacute Stroke Unit based at UCLH. I’m currently completing my Masters in Leadership and Innovations in Health Care at London South Bank University and am so grateful for all the learning opportunities offered to me and the experience gained whilst working at Queen Square.

How do you think the work of The National Brain Appeal helps The National?
The funds The National Brain Appeal have raised means our patients can be cared for in a more pleasant environment and in areas that are ‘fit for purpose’ for patients and staff alike.

I feel that all the staff at TNBA have a real depth of understanding around the needs of our patients when supporting us with projects to improve the services at NHNN.

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