NELFT Talks... A day in the life of Nicola Ellsmore, stroke and neurology manager | NELFT Talks

NELFT Talks... A day in the life of Nicola Ellsmore, stroke and neurology manager | NELFT Talks

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Read the latest NELFTtalks blogs from our stakeholders where they will be sharing their views on recent developments at NELFT and sharing advice on a range of topics.

NELFT Talks... A day in the life of Nicola Ellsmore, stroke and neurology manager

This September marks 20 years of me having worked in the NHS. How time flies! I qualified as a physiotherapist in 1999 and went on to specialise in the field of Neurology. I have been in my current role as Stroke and Neurology Manager within the Acute and Rehab Directorate (ARD) for around 6 years now. As Stroke and Neurology Manager, I manage our Stroke rehab therapists currently based at Meadow Court and our Community Rehabilitation Service (CRS) across Havering and B&D. I also manage the Neurological Nursing service across Havering and B&D, where we see patients with PD (Pakrinsons Disease), MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and MND (Motor Neurone Disease). As part of this role, I lead in monitoring and continuing to enhance our adherence to the relevant stroke and neurological conditions NICE guidelines on the stroke ward and within the areas I manage.

So what does my job actually entail on a day to day basis? Whilst I’m no longer in a clinical position, I continue to use a range of my core clinical transferrable skills such as communicating with staff, patients, stakeholders or commissioners, managing conflict and prioritising competing daily demands to name a few. This week for example, I have met with some psychologists from both NELFT and BHRUT to discuss and put together a model of stroke/Neuro psychology care and what this should look like across the entire BHR pathway across the two organisations.  I have completed 1:1 supervision sessions with several staff members, and started a fact finding exercise for a grievance I am investigating.

It was only through personal experience of my dad requiring intensive physiotherapy after a severe and life changing 40% burns injury when I was 13yrs old that I became aware of what a physiotherapist was. From that point on I decided that it was the career for me.

I am also involved with a number of projects at present. Late last year we relocated our Stroke ward, Marigold Ward from Grays Court to Meadow Court which required careful planning. We are now working on Phase 2 of the Meadow Court works which, if all runs to schedule, will see our intermediate care inpatient wards at KGH move across to Meadow court later this year. 

It is an exciting time for the stroke services we provide across the Barking, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) region. Whilst it has been on-going for a number of years, it does feel like we are starting to make progress on trying to implement the outcome of the CCG Led Stroke Consultation of 2016. Once achieved this will be of great benefit for our stroke patients across BHR, by ensuring not only equity of provision across the boroughs but also further enhancing services currently provided. There will also be benefits for staff including partnership working with our BHRUT colleagues. These greater opportunities for staff will hopefully aid staff recruitment and retention. 

I think anyone who goes into a clinical profession does so because they enjoy the interaction with patients with the intention to make a positive difference to people’s lives and quality of life.

I think we all have a vital role to play trying to promote clinical careers within the NHS to help future proof our professions and our NHS. It was only through personal experience of my dad requiring intensive physiotherapy after a severe and life changing 40% burns injury when I was 13yrs old that I became aware of what a physiotherapist was. From that point on I decided that it was the career for me – my dad insists it was because I liked inflicting pain! Who would’ve thought, having made the decision at such a young age, that all these years later I’d still be in the same profession!

Naturally there are moments when I do miss direct patient contact as a physiotherapist. I think anyone who goes into a clinical profession does so because they enjoy the interaction with patients with the intention to make a positive difference to people’s lives and quality of life. Now in a managerial position, I still have this same ambition but hope I achieve it indirectly rather than patient facing, by providing a basis to influence senior management, commissioners whilst also supporting, promoting and encouraging my services to continually enhance the quality of services we provide.

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