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Wizard Ward Profile
Senior Sister Victoria Bird (back row, second from left) with the Wizard Ward team.

June 20

“Wonderful” Wizard Ward working their magic to support children undergoing surgery and their families

They are the “wonderful” team working their magic to support children undergoing surgery and their families.

Wizard Ward, located in A301 (adjacent to Endoscopy), has 14 members of staff and was created as part of the opening of the PFI building in 2010. 

Senior Sister Victoria Bird, who began working at Broomfield Hospital after leaving St John’s Hospital 13 years ago, said she has “seen the service grow massively”.

Now a 10-bed unit, when she first joined the Trust, the children’s surgical service was initially a four-bed bay at the end of a corridor next to an adult day surgical unit. At this time, pre-assessments were not carried out for children, and Victoria worked alongside one other children’s nurse, who was on a part-time contract.

The service later moved to Acorn Ward which was part of the Day Stay Unit attached to the adult service, Oak Ward. It was at this point that they began caring for children who had undergone plastic surgery.

Victoria said: “My manager at that time was Dawn Little – she was very supportive, allowing me to develop the service.

“During this time it dawned on me that adult patients were having pre-assessments and children weren’t, so I went about implementing that.

“Now we see all children before they have surgery, offering a nurse led pre-assessment to assess anaesthetic risks and take them through a preparation session and if necessary see our very own play specialist.

“The pre-assessment process is a vital part of the child’s journey through the service and the child, parents and carers value this input. They come in and they are scared but afterwards they are prepared and know who will be looking after them, what the process is and what to expect.

“We also give operation information and take their parents through the aftercare, the expectations, and pain management – it is a really fantastic service.”

Victoria was consulted on the plans for the children’s surgical ward during the construction process for the PFI building, and had the opportunity to advise about the requirements. Young patients then chose the name ‘Wizard Ward’ and their team grew to five members of staff.

She explained that when they began working in the newly-named Wizard Ward, they were looking after 15-20 children a week. Now they see 40-50 young patients on a weekly basis plus carry out 40-50 pre-assessments.

Alongside implementing pre-assessments for children, Victoria has also redesigned the paperwork used and prepared a successful business case to build a dedicated team for Wizard Ward. She now has three Band 6 nurses, 7 Band 5 nurses, and 3 Band 4s, one of which is a play specialist.

“Going forward I am looking at the surgical pathway, the journey the patient takes through our service.

“I identified that there were multiple points of entry where our patients come into the Trust and I thought ‘how can we streamline this using a single point of entry?’

“The big plan is for a single point of entry, all children regardless of where they are having their operation to be sent through Wizard, with us as the central hub,” she said.

The first step in this has been a member of Victoria’s team visiting Phoenix Ward each morning to bring trauma patients up to Wizard Ward.

“This utilises my beds if we are not at capacity and alleviates the stress on Phoenix staff,” she added.

The team have also issued a questionnaire to parents to gather feedback so that they can make appointment times as convenient as possible, including the potential for evening clinics so that patients do not need to miss school.

“I have the best team; I want everybody to know how wonderful they are.

“I know from the bottom of my heart that every single member of staff here treats the children like they are their own. 

“Parents are scared, they are giving up a lot of control when their children are at their most vulnerable and it is an honour to be trusted like that. We go that extra mile for our patients all of the time,” she said.