Health: Making real connections

Nurse Susan Power likes developing connections with her patients. Nurse Susan Power likes developing connections with her patients.

Nurse Susan Power likes developing connections with her patients.

Nurse Susan Power says one part of continued care nursing she particularly enjoys is having regular contact with patients on extended hospital stays. This type of contact enables her to develop relationships with patients that are deeper than they would be in other nursing environments, she says.

“It’s not exciting like the emergency department and you’re not seeing new life every day like you are in the maternity ward, but there’s this whole other aspect where you’re looking at someone’s ongoing care and how you’re going to manage that.”

Power has been appointed nurse unit manager at Box Hill Hospital’s new 32-bed continuing care ward, which is slated to open mid to late February. Part of her responsibility is to oversee the development of the nursing culture in the new ward to help ensure patients receive the best care.

She participates in clinical work and patient interaction, managing the financial needs of the ward and taking care of its HR capacity through the recruitment and management of staff.

“The new role will be different in that we’re establishing a ward that hasn’t been occupied by any patients or staff previously,” says Power. “It’s a rare opportunity to be able to build a ward from the ground up.”

Power is a hospital-trained nurse. She has a bachelor of nursing conversion degree and a graduate certificate in health administration. She completed the graduate certificate at RMIT in 1999 to facilitate her transition into management roles requiring health services administration skills.

“I’ve found with nursing that many opportunities present themselves and it’s good to be able to grasp them,” says Power.

Box Hill Hospital’s continuing ward is on a recruitment drive for more staff in areas such as nursing, medical and allied health.

One of Powers’ first priorities is to source the nursing team.

“We’re looking at getting registered nurses and enrolled nurses into positions that are both part time and full time,” she says. “We’ll be looking at actively recruiting people who may have experience in acute or rehab-type nursing. Or they may come from a different field. We’re willing to interview people if they are interested.”

Having a significant hand in opening a new hospital ward is daunting in some respects, says Power, but she’s optimistic she can make a positive impact in the next 12 months.

“A good career outcome would be other people sourcing me out to say, ‘You’ve opened up a new ward and put together a whole profile of staff that are cohesive. What can you do to help us do the same for our new ward?’ That would be a good outcome if I’m looked at by my peers or colleagues as a resource to help them in a similar situation.”

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