Name: Sarah Kvedaras
Job title: Paediatric Neurosurgical Clinical Nurse Specialist
Speciality: Children’s nursing
Organisation: Noah's Ark Children's Hospital for Wales, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
What is your current role?
I am currently the clinical nurse specialist for paediatric neurosurgery for inpatients in Cardiff. All children referred from south, mid and west Wales are all transferred into Cardiff as the tertiary centre for paediatric neurosurgery in Wales.
What was your route to this role?
Since qualifying from Cardiff University in 2013, I undertook a role as a staff nurse in a DGH in England. I then returned back to Cardiff and Vale UHB in 2014. I undertook a rotation around the Children's hospital within medicine, surgery and paediatric critical care. I began the role part-time for 8 months before going full-time.
What prompted you to do this role?
Working on the paediatric surgical ward I cared for many children with neurosurgical conditions including head injuries, bleeds and tumours. My experience in critical care also gave me a much deeper insight into the care of a child facing a significant head trauma. My colleague then encouraged me to apply for the role part-time as I had an interest in paediatric neurosurgery and wished to advance my clinical role from a ward staff nurse.
What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?
There is no set welsh education course to take on this role and alot of support and teaching has been undertaken by the neurosurgical registrar team and my consultants, such as the administration of intrathecal antibiotics . I attended a 'Fundamentals of Paediatric Neuroscience Nursing Course' offered by GOSH in 2018. I have also completed venapuncture training within my local hospital.
I have also been completing my nursing masters course part-time over the last four years which I hope to complete this Autumn. This is an MSc in Advanced Practice offered by Cardiff University where I have completed modules in research, leadership and education alongside a paediatric specific module. I have completed this masters in my own time to further my education and development as a nurse.
How do you see yourself developing your skills?
I hope to further develop my clinical skills within neurosurgery to undertake reservoir/shunt taps. I also hope to undertake a cannulation course in the next year. I would also like to become a nurse prescriber in the future if I had such an opportunity.
What is your long-term career plan?
I would really like to further my skills to become an advanced nurse practitioner. Once my masters is completed I can then top this up with an 18 months clinical course. However, this would be a new job role within Wales and is not yet within the scope of practice for the paediatric neurosurgical service.
What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in your area of practice?
I would advise others to undertake any and every opportunity to advance their knowledge and clinical skills. Whether that may be rotating to a new area or undertaking a study day. Further learning can offer so much insight across your scope of practice for the care of children you give. I would also advise not to be afraid of doing something new or working in an area you don't have too much prior knowledge of, you will always learn and be supported within a new role.
What do you most enjoy about this area of care?
I really enjoy the autonomy this role brings as a children's nurse. As a clinical nurse specialist I can offer support and advice for my client group when parents contact me. I always have the backing of my colleagues and can contact members of my registrar/consultant team for advice. As part of my role I also educate the children's nurses within the hospital which I really enjoy. To support the learning of others is a privilege to offer education about neurosurgical management.