On the ‘earth’ level of the hospital is Kelpie; The Royal Children’s Hospital adolescent and rehabilitation care ward. It has a multi-disciplinary model of care which involves physical care, treatment, emotional support, advocacy and education. Melissa and Liz share what life is like as a Kelpie nurse.
How is Kelpie different from the other wards?
Melissa: Kelpie has a fun, relaxed vibe on the ward. We’re about empowering young people and working closely with them to cater to their needs. We also have a lot of patients who stay for a long time, or who are return patients – we like to call them our frequent flyers.
It looks like you’re a close team!
Liz: We really strive to work as a team. If you’re having a tough shift, someone will always come out to help you.
Melissa: We care about each other as much as the patients!
Can you tell me about the type of patients you look after?
Liz: Kelpie’s patient demographic is varied. We are the adolescent and rehabilitation ward, but we also take on a lot of oncology, respiratory, general medicine and surgical patients. We do our best to keep our patients safe and happy, no matter why they’re here.
What attracted you to working on Kelpie?
Melissa: I used to work on Cockatoo. One time I was caring for an adolescent patient and I enjoyed building a rapport with them; it made me realise I was all about adolescent medicine. I also heard the team on Kelpie were great. I’ve been here for four and a half years now!
Liz: I did my graduate year on Kelpie, and am now in my fourth year. I’ve learnt so much!
Why did you decide to get into nursing?
Liz: I’d always had an interest in health science and some of my friends were studying nursing, so I decided to give it a go and haven’t looked back.
Melissa: I always wanted to be a nurse, I’m a bit of a cliché! To think you can have an impact and really benefit someone’s life and do it in a really caring way is what drew me to nursing. I think all nurses have a similar personality. We are all caring and nurturing; we enjoy talking and being helpful.
Is there a patient you cared for you who has stood out for you?
Melissa: All the families who come in that are here for a long time, they really engage with us and value us. It’s rewarding getting to know them outside of their illness.
Liz: I really like caring for kids who have a disability. The Kelpie team really value their individuality, and we strive to really get to know the patient so we can do everything we can to keep them happy.
What do you do to relax after a long shift?
Liz: Yoga, floristry, and I also love to travel. I try to have a mix of being creative and going out to have fun with friends. Exercise is also a good way to be in a moment where you’re not thinking about work, and it can be really refreshing.
Melissa: Work life balance is important. I like being with friends, spending time in the sun and spending time with my family, who are a really big support. Exercise, as boring as it can sometimes be, keeps my mind healthy too.
If you weren’t a nurse what would you be doing?
Liz: Florist, or a travel blogger…or maybe I could be the first travelling florist!
Melissa: I’d be a chef because I love food; it brings people together and makes me feel good. I also love a healthy debate and talking a lot, so like the idea of being a lawyer too.
If you’d like to know how about what to expect during your stay on Kelpie Ward, you can download the My RCH app here.
Originally published on RCH News, October 2016