What is your role at Royal Far West (RFW)?
Hello – my name is Linda. I am one of two clinic nurses at RFW. An important part of my job is meeting the children and parents who come to us in Manly, and carrying out an assessment on each child before they see our doctors.
The assessments including monitoring vital signs and growth. I’ll check their height and weight, compile a brief history of any allergies or reactions, and find out what medications a child might be taking. On the child’s first visit I also measure their head circumference, which paediatricians use to see if a child’s head size in the normal range.
Describe your typical day at RFW
Once a family goes home, I stay in contact with the parents of the children who are trialing medication and have not been on medication before. I regularly liaise with the parents to see how things are progressing, as it’s important that we diligently monitor for side effects, good or bad.
My nursing colleague and I are the first point of contact if parents or carers call RFW with a message for our doctors.
We also do plenty of liaising with local schools, pharmacists and local doctors’ surgeries. We liaise with specialised clinics for referrals, and sometimes with pharmacists and schools, depending on the scripts we send out. All of this contact and relationship building helps ensure good ongoing follow-up care for our clients and their families, including their at-school support and any transitions to local services.
What do you think makes RFW unique?
I have been at RFW for more than 10 years, working in a variety of areas from accommodation to pre-admissions and now the clinic, and during this time I’ve seen many exciting changes.
I’ve seen us extend our service via telehealth, supporting families in regional NSW and beyond, without the cost and time involved in coming to Sydney. This support has already been extended interstate to Queensland and Western Australia, helping support even more children in rural and remote areas.
I see RFW now developing into a centre of excellence, providing specialised services with multidisciplinary skills, and becoming an Australia-wide service.
What led you to work at RFW?
The core area of my working life has been to support children and their families – so it was natural for me to want to work at RFW.
What’s the best thing about working with children and their families from rural and remote communities?
Children are our future and we all want them to get the right help and support in their life to be the best they can.
I’ve been privileged to help many families who come to RFW. An incredible highlight is when families come here for the first time, knowing their child needs support but having no real diagnosis, and seeing their relief when their child comes here and receives a diagnosis – a pathway forward – and witnessing their sense of purpose that they will now be able to access help and support at school and beyond for their beloved child.
Surrounding me at RFW is the medical centre, the accommodation sector, the Department of Education school and the recreation team. All these different staff have different perspectives yet all work together towards a common goal – the health and welfare of the children and their families. I love it.