Hi, my name is Jackie and I have been on the Royal Far West nursing team for almost a year, living and working on Gayamaygal land.
What does your role involve?
I am a Child and Family Health Nurse. I work closely with the other nurses and paediatricians on our team to gather health and wellbeing information from families prior to attending RFW. Once families are onsite, we check their growth and observations and give our findings to the paediatricians. Our role involves discussion with the greater multi-disciplinary team (MDT) to ensure that we provide support and a pathway that the child/ren can reach their full potential.
Have you seen any changes in the sorts of issues children have during your time at Royal Far West?
Children and family are having more complex issues and increase in mental health concerns due to impact of COVID, bushfires and floods and also the decline in access to readily available health care for all children and their families in rural and remote NSW.
What led you to work at RFW?
I have worked as a nurse for over 30 years, working in Ballarat, Melbourne, Darwin, Canberra, back to Melbourne and now in Sydney. Over the course of my career, I have been lucky enough to work in amazing areas of this beautiful country and work with amazing people. I became a midwife in the Northern Territory, I got my qualification as Child and Family Health Nurse in NSW while living in Canberra and have been working in this field in Melbourne for that past 10yrs after having children of my own. My husband had a wonderful job opportunity to come to Sydney on a contract and I took the opportunity to join him and came across this wonderful opportunity to work at RFW and in Manly to top it all off! I love the location and feel blessed to be able to do my daily walks in the area and appreciate this gorgeous part of the world.
Can you describe your typical day?
A typical day would involve doing nurse assessments via telehealth to meet with the families, attend health observations for child that are onsite at RFW, attend medication reviews for children that have commenced on new medication regime/trials and give feedback to the paediatricians. I will send out any prescriptions to selected pharmacies. I send out pathology request forms to families and anything else requested by the paediatricians.
I also follow up on any emails or calls from families with their requests and give support to them as necessary. I arrange referrals to audiology, dietician, continent nurse, sleep study and follow up on any reports, pathology results or other reports that the team may need to help with their findings for the family. We may also need to report to the Department of Criminal Justice (DCJ) if concerns about a child’s wellbeing. Engage with other members of our multidisciplinary team (MDT) to give updates and attend case conference meetings.
What do you love about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
Their honesty and their resilience.
What do you think makes RFW unique?
RFW is unique in that all members of the MDT are involved in the process of working through a better outcome for these families and we all share the same passion to try and obtain this for them.
Can give us an example of a family’s positive outcomes through working with RFW?
We are providing families with a better understanding and the tools to better understand how they can help their child reach their full potential.
Can you share some career highlights from your time at Royal Far West as a Child and Family Health Nurse?
Having the ability to engage with people from all walks of life, to make them feel heard and validated and supported.
Where’s your country?
Growing up I had a connection with Gariwerd country, where the Grampians in Victoria are located but I think Gayamaygal country, Manly has found a pretty special place in my heart that I will always cherish.