Siobhann Bell

Ward Manager, Community Rehabilitation Unit, Dorking Community Hospital, Surrey

I have worked at Dorking Hospital for a long time in many different roles; student nurse, HCA, RGN, sister and eventually after some time away working in other areas of nursing, I became ward manager in October 2019. From the start my role has been challenging, from staffing issues, to changes in trusts to the most recent Covid-19 pandemic, and we have faced lots of change and uncertainty.

Dorking community hospital is a large unit, it houses a large outpatients department, MSK department, podiatry department, community matrons service and a large 28 bed inpatient unit which I manage. Local GPs visit daily to supply the ward with medical cover but ultimately the ward is nurse led. The ward is primarily a rehabilitation unit; patients are referred from surrounding acute hospitals for a period of rehab before discharge plans are made, we also admit patients from the community. The ward team is made up of a large MDT of nursing staff, occupational therapy staff and physiotherapy staff and we all work together to try and achieve the best outcomes for our patients and their families. Among the staff we have a large and varied skill mix and therefore are able to care for patients with many different health needs.

Although it has been challenging managing a ward, especially over the past year, I do really enjoy my job and I manage a wonderful team who go from strength to strength. We have all worked together to support each other through the challenges that we have faced and continue to face. I want to recognise our achievements and the things that we do well as a team and I want to work together as a team to improve things we do not do so well.

This programme was recommended to me by a mentor and friend of mine who had read about it. Reading through the website articles and speaking with a fellow from the 2020 programme I gained an understanding of the programme and the positive outcomes that can be achieved through creating an inclusive caring environment for both staff and patients. I am looking forward to learning new leadership skills, methods and approaches that will help initiate and inspire change for the better. I hope that change can become an exciting, positive word that is embraced, rather than something that, at times, seems to feel negative in the nursing world.

I am really looking forward to meeting the other fellows on the programme and learning from their experiences. I hope to gain a support network outside of my normal practice which will help enhance my knowledge of being a leader. I feel privileged to be offered the opportunity to take part in this journey and I am excited to get started.