FROM insects to batteries, Solihull nurse Jo Williams is used to finding some unusual things in youngsters’ ears.
Now the ear, nose and throat specialist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Nursing Standard Award for launching the first nurse-led service for removing the foreign objects.
“I am absolutely delighted to be a finalist,” said Jo from Kendal Grove, who finds out if she has won in March.
“This work is really important as children don’t often realise the danger of putting things in their ears. Watch batteries are especially unsafe as the acid can occasionally leak into the ear canal and cause damage to the surrounding tissue.”
With 30 years nursing experience, Jo treated around 100 children for objects in their ears in the last year alone.
“One of the worst things I’ve seen was an eye, from a toy, looking back at me. I’ve seen lentils, sequins, blu-tack, bits of toy... even insects, usually with all their legs sticking up.
“I had one patient who had heard buzzing for two days which had then stopped. When I had a look, there was the dead insect.”
Traditionally, the removal procedure is carried out by junior doctors but since launching the nurse-led service last year, the non-surgical success rate has shot up from 17 to 90 per cent.
“Historically, it’s always been done by junior doctors who weren’t always very successful. If we can’t get them out in clinical, the child has to go under general anaesthetic.
“Juniors can be anxious, because I’ve got experience working with parents and children, I think that’s why I’m more successful.”
Now Jo is hoping that her initiative will be taken up by other hospitals and even rolled out to other departments.
The Nursing Standard Awards aim to celebrate excellence in nursing with 15 gongs handed out in a range of fields.