#NursesWhereYouNeedThem: Ellen McDermott

In Central Queensland, News, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay by Jasmin Midgley

The week of 14-20 September is the Australian College of Nursing’s ‘Nursing in the Community Week’, with the theme this year #NursesWhereYouNeedThem.

The PHN’s Ellen McDermott has many stories to share from her 37 years as a nurse.

“Over these years I have worked in aged care, private hospitals, public hospitals and general practice, giving me a great understanding of how each of the areas of health care work.

It has also given me the skill to help and improve the experience for patients in navigating the health system, and to improve the patients’ health literacy, self-management and outcomes.

One story which springs to mind is of a patient that came to clinics with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

She was booked to see the surgeon to discuss and book for surgery.

I was the nurse assigned to that clinic so it was part of my role to introduce myself as I would be involved in her care, throughout her journey in specialist outpatients.

She was booked for surgery and returned to clinics for me to attend to her dressings.

Once the wound was healed she returned to see the oncologist for review and be booked for treatment.

It was my job to discuss what to expect during those treatments and to arrange accommodation as the treatment was to be undertaken in a major city, for a six-week period.

Being involved in the whole process and at each appointment gave her as the patient not only continuity of care, but made her feel more comfortable and reassured throughout her care.

Many months later, after her treatment, I ran into her outside the hospital and she was so pleased to see me.

She gave me a hug and thank me for being there for her during the journey and told me everything she had been doing since she finishing treatment.

It gave me such a warm satisfying feeling that you can be there and help patients navigate their health care journey.”