Charge Nurse Manager, Plastics, Dermatology and Burns Outpatients
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Nursing for me is about the concept of caring for the patient.
I feel, as nurses, one of our most important skills is the craft of making the bed-rest patient comfortable for the 24 hours of their stay in that bed.
You develop a trusting relationship with a patient when you care for them, when you wash their bodies and talk to them.
It’s a privilege and when they say ‘thank you’; that rattles my cage.
I’m an extrovert and I get energised by being with people. I love hearing people’s stories.
I started my nursing training in 1966 and have been nursing ever since. I’ve worked in lots of different roles at Waikato Hospital and overseas.
I worked in the Intensive Care Unit for about 13 years and as the Infection Control supervisor for 13 years.
I also worked in the private sector, but I decided my passion was hands-on nursing and came back to Waikato Hospital in the late 1990s.
I started back in Ward 7 (Burns, Plastics and Maxillofacial Surgery) and I was made charge nurse there in mid-1999. I worked 12 years in that job.
The scarring from burns can be hideous, but good nursing can assist in improving outcomes.
A multidisciplinary team approach is important; there are doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, scar management therapists and dietitians – a wound can’t heal if you have a poor diet. All are vital in successful burn care.
I wasn’t working on the afternoon of the Tamahere fire – I offered to come in but they didn’t need me – but I was here on Monday.
" One firefighter was an absolute hero – statistically he should have died – he survived... "
One firefighter was an absolute hero – statistically he should have died – he survived. His attitude was amazing. It’s a gift to see a patient progress.
I get a huge kick out of seeing people get better. The downside is the verbal abuse that occurs on the wards. I wouldn’t allow my nurses to be verbally abused, so they would know to come and get me and I’d intervene.
Some of the people admitted to Ward 7 are those who have been injured in fights, women who have been punched, people who have soft tissue damage from the road (car accidents).
Some of them are coming off drugs, which is why they are involved in the fights or accidents in the first place. Some patients become frustrated when they have to wait for surgery to repair their injuries.
And there are a lot of smokers, and we get a lot of (verbal) abuse because they aren’t allowed to smoke in the hospital. There is a huge variety of people we see here at the hospital compared to the private sector; it’s a real slice of humanity.
I had the most brilliant group of nurses in Ward 7. Even in adversity, or when we were short staffed, or abused, the whole team was fantastic.
I recently put my hand up for this interim role in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Outpatients. It’s a very busy department. We see a lot of melanoma and skin cancers.
Being a charge nurse is wonderful but can be very demanding. I write out the nurses’ rosters and am part of the referral process for plastic surgery.
A lot of my job is trouble shooting. I deal with day-to-day issues for the nurses and any problems the doctors may have.
I like to have an open door so people can come and talk to me any time. I love being involved in making a difference to a patient.
Even after all of these years I still love being a nurse.
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