Rewarding Moments in Health Care Pt. 2

Wednesday 10th April 2019

More insights from real health care workers

Below are another set of inspirational quotes from real health care workers. I hope that in reading about these experiences, you will rest assured of how deeply your health care workers care, and recognise the joy and gratification that can be gained from a career in health care.

It’s difficult to identify a specific moment or event… moments are everywhere. There have been several situations over the years. It all comes down to the satisfaction of knowing you have made a difficult time easier for a patient and their family. It can be as simple as arranging pillows for comfort, providing pain relief in a pain crisis or offering simple steps and measures that can make a situation easier. Sitting with a person while they die, telling them they are safe and it’s alright for them to go. Knowing I can’t change the destination for most people, but I can make the journey easier. Having a patient or family say, “Thank you.” These thoughts are from my last 20 years in palliative care.  

Anne Ward, Palliative Care Nurse

There is no one defining moment I can point to as being the most rewarding from my time in aged care. There were so many moments, and most often they came from those everyday routine things. To enter a room where the person is uncomfortable, upset and even distressed, then leave them comfortable and smiling is very rewarding. Often, it’s seemingly insignificant things that we do that really impact a person’s quality of life. Being part of a team performing these tasks is always incredible to experience. These moments, and many others, made the 15 years I worked in aged care such an enriching and rewarding experience.  

Christine Lowery, Aged Care Nurse

“I was at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with NSW Health, which is a mainstream hospital, but we were linking with the Aboriginal medical service. Indigenous women are so often scared about attending mainstream services and are notoriously bad for arriving at a hospital to have a baby, without having had any pre-natal care. So, we were linking in with the AMS because we knew that women would go there for prenatal care, and we could slowly transition them into mainstream. We held morning teas for the expecting mums and did education on nutrition, lifestyle and child development with them. We were slowly introducing them to the maternity ward so they could build up relationships with the midwives and feel a bit more comfortable. 

That was probably the most rewarding time, because those women were getting all of the care they needed. They were getting if from the AMS, where they felt safe and they were being treated better by midwifery staff when they went in, because of that bridging. They were able to access other specialists within the service. There was a whole team who they could call and say, ‘I’m struggling, I need some help.’

We also ran a sustained home visiting program that went for two years. We went in every week, fortnight, then month and talked about keeping them on track with parenting. We talked about their child’s development and taught strategies for helping them develop at the same rate as non-indigenous kids.There is still a higher infant mortality rate among indigenous babies, than non-indigenous.  But we know that because they are getting proper pre-natal care now, thanks to services like that, all of those inequalities are starting to become less than what they were. 

A lot of these women were young, and often brought their parents along to class for support, or they’d be at home with them when we visited. I had grandmas break down and say, ‘I feel so guilty. If I had known that, I would have done things so differently.’ I had to reassure them, that we don’t want them to feel guilty, we’re here because this is something that should have been done forever, so we’re doing it now. We can actually help the next generation, because everything depends on pre-natal care, it’s crazy how much of an impact it has. It’s pretty wonderful when people say, “I’m so glad my daughter is coming here, ‘I’m so glad this is happening,’ ‘Hopefully her child will have a better life than she had.” It’s horrible to hear mum guilt, but it means that we’re educating, which is so important.

Seeing that the work these services do is making a difference, just motivates us even more. It’s a reward for the good work, and our community are so grateful. They’ll say, ‘Thank you so much for doing that for me. You actually listened to me.’ And hearing them say, ‘Finally, someone’s not just dismissing me.’ All they’ve wanted their whole life is to be taken seriously, to be heard and to be respected. And giving that to them has motivated them to look after their health and to look after themselves, emotionally. It’s pretty awesome. I love that. I loved it.” 

Lyssa-Maree Longshaw, Aboriginal Health Worker