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Media centre home > News > Exploring the role of the Roald Dahl Children's Nurse

Issued:13/09/18

Healthcare academics at Sheffield Hallam University are working with Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity (RDMCC) to evaluate the work of Roald Dahl specialist children's nurses.

The project, which has been announced on Roald Dahl Day - an annual celebration of the World’s Number One storyteller’s birthday, will look at the impact of specialist paediatric nursing for 20 Roald Dahl nursing posts which have been appointed jointly by RDMCC and the NHS from 1 April 2016 to date.

RDMCC funds a network of specialist nurses across the UK – there are currently 67 Roald Dahl Specialist Children’s Nurses, 2 Paediatric Neuro-Rehab Occupational Therapists and 1 Play Specialist providing expert help and support to families affected by serious illness.

The evaluation project aims to demonstrate the outcomes delivered by Roald Dahl Nurses through their work and the impact this has on children, young people and their families. It will also show the cost savings made to the NHS, in turn, highlighting the real difference made to beneficiaries and NHS Trusts, in order to help fund additional nursing posts in areas with the greatest need.

The first 18 months of the new Roald Dahl nurses’ posts will be reviewed, with 19 of these posts based across England and one based in Northern Ireland. This will aim to show the difference nurses can make to families when in post for the first eighteen months.

The project will seek to evaluate the effectiveness of the Roald Dahl Nurses by reviewing the social and demographic profile of their caseloads, the conditions they treat, as well as the age groups of the children in their care.

The study will examine each nursing post from the perspective of the post-holder, the heads of children’s nursing, the multi-disciplinary team, as well as the children and families who form the caseload of Roald Dahl Nurses. For every one of the 20 Roald Dahl Nurse posts and stakeholders evaluated, an individual case study and report will be presented. Each of the case study findings will be analysed and compared, providing a comprehensive report to RDMCC.

Sheffield Hallam is one of the largest providers of health and social care education in the UK. It is a national leader in creating innovative and real-world solutions for tackling today's health and wellbeing challenges.Its healthcare curriculum creates the skilled workforce the NHS needs to deliver better long-term health outcomes for the nation.

Roald Dahl Nurses are experienced and committed nursing practitioners, used to sharing their skills and experience with other healthcare professionals. They are also innovators, who are encouraged to devise improvements in their nursing care.

Patrick and his Mum from Belfast are supported by their Roald Dahl Neurodisability Nurse Jennifer Anderson, who works to support seriously ill children and young people at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

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Sophie Dziwinski, head of programmes at RDMCC believes the synergy between RDMCC and Sheffield Hallam's approach to education and evaluation was a fantastic fit for the research partnership.

She said: “I am delighted that we are able to partner with such a forward-thinking educational institution for thisimportant research project. Roald Dahl Nurses are educators, innovators and experts in their field. The collaboration with Sheffield Hallam, a university with tremendous experience in research, and one that shares our values of high-quality healthcare, is exciting.

"It will demonstrate the impact of the wonderful work our community of nurses do in supporting seriously ill children and their families. Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity has a responsibility not only to our supportersand NHS partners, but also the special children, young people and families in our care, to ensure our nurses are as effective as possible.”

Dr Robin Lewis, senior lecturer and project lead at Sheffield Hallam, said: "The role of the specialist children's nurse is vitally important when it comes to providing care and support for all the family at what is undoubtedly an extremely difficult and stressful time.

"At Sheffield Hallam, we have a breadth of experience in training and developing the healthcare workforce of the future and this research project will help us to build on that expertise and continue to shape healthcare provision across the country.

"We are extremely proud to be working with such a worthwhile charity to highlight the impact it is making on the lives of young people and their families."

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email s.duce@shu.ac.uk or Sophie Dziwinski, at RDMCC on sophied@roalddahlcharity.org  and 01494 890 465.