Roald Dahl Nurse Neil talks about the importance of transition services for young people moving to adult healthcare services.
Neil Fletcher is a Roald Dahl Clinical Nurse Specialist for Teenagers and Young Adults at Barts Health NHS Trust. He is co-hosting Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity's Roald Dahl Nursing Conference. The theme for this year's event is is on 'Transition of Care'.
We asked Neil some marvellous questions as we look ahead to this most spectacular event.
What does being a Roald Dahl Nurse mean to you?
The ability to be creative, innovative, with a little bit of mischief in the mix.
What's the importance of 'The Transition of Care' Conference for you and your role?
Recognising that young people do grow up and move into adulthood so it's something that will happen to most young people. We need to prepare young people and their families for this eventuality and also put a positive slant on moving into adulthood.
What does being involved as the conference's marvellous hosts mean to you?
Bringing together a cohort of nurses within a common theme. Transition between children's to adult services is so important and I am delighted that this is the focus of the conference.
Why is it so important that healthcare professionals and the general public get behind funding more Transition Specialist roles?
Transition can be a complex issue which can involve co-ordinating health care, social care and education. There are sometimes gaps within the services and we need to make young people and families aware of those gaps.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role as a Transition Nurse Specialist?
Ensuring that all those involved in the transition pathways talk to each other. Ensure that the young person is involved in the decision making and that their voice is heard. Different specialities have different ages of transition. This is OK, providing there are clear plans as to what to do during an emergency admission. Lots of examples are of young people over 16, under the care of children's services who are then admitted to an adult ward as there is no clear plan.
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
That transition pathways are receiving such a high profile and by collaborative working, we can begin to make a difference.
If you have any advice for new Roald Dahl Nurses what would it be?
Take any and every opportunity to promote your role. Be outward facing as well as inward facing. Explore and visit what resources and team are out there who can support you. Get to know your children's and adult services colleagues.
If you can describe what being a Roald Dahl Nurse means for families in your care what would it be?
Within my role, I am not linked to a particular speciality so I am able to give an independent voice.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your role, the conference and or transition in general?
Remember the young people who are diagnosed at 16 who present to adult services.
Find out more about the incredible work Roald Dahl Nurses do to support over 21,000 children and families facing serious illness.