If the ground level at the RCH is known as Beach, then it’s only natural that lower ground would be known as ‘Underwater’!
And it’s here that you’ll find another appropriately named ward – Dolphin.
Dolphin is our medical short stay ward and is located close to our Emergency Department (ED). Children who present to ED and who need care for up to 48-72 hours are often admitted to Dolphin.
To find out more, we asked Sue (left) and Emily to tell us what life is like as a Dolphin nurse.
How is Dolphin different from the other wards?
Emily: Dolphin is a short stay unit that specialises in anything that doesn’t keep you in hospital too long. We generally see patients who stay for three days or less. Our job is to allow for good patient flow from Emergency.
Sue: We have a high turnover of patients and after morning discharges can admit as many as 15 or more new patients a day. Frequently, the original diagnosis and management can change and our patients do stay longer.
Can you tell us about the type of patients you care for:
Emily: The main conditions patients present with are bronchiolitis, asthma, cellulitis, as well as newly diagnosed diabetes and babies with feeding issues.
What attracted you to working at the RCH and on Dolphin specifically?
Sue: I have been working on Dolphin for four and a half years with the most dedicated, caring and supportive team of nurses and doctors. We are a great team! It has been the most amazing opportunity to work at the RCH (after a move from Hobart!) towards the latter end of my nursing career.
Emily: I was attracted to the RCH because of the highly specialised training you receive while working here. Also, when I was a student I realised that people are more passionate about nursing if they are in a specialised area, so that’s the reason I chose paediatrics. It’s so much better to work in an environment where people love what they do. I was attracted to Dolphin because I had heard the team all love their job – they weren’t lying!
Why did you decide to get into nursing?
Emily: I got into nursing after realising the impact that a nurse can have on your day as a patient. When a nurse genuinely cares about you, is your advocate, and is good at what they do, then you feel so much less powerless whilst lying in a bed, or as a parent at the bedside.
Sue: I always wanted to be a nurse, but very soon into my hospital training I realised that nursing sick children was going to be my first choice and be very rewarding.
Is there a patient you have cared for who has stood out for you?
Sue: During my forty plus years in paediatrics I have always considered it a privilege to support parents, carers and families to care for their unwell child in a safe, caring environment with an emphasis on family-centred care. There has been so many positive changes in that time to allow families to be involved in the hospital care of their child and access to more medical information. All the families who com in that are here for a long time, they really engage with us and value us. I
What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
Emily: It would have to be how you can make a negative experience a positive one. We aim to make the hospital experience as least traumatic as possible. This includes lots of singing, stickers, play and Peppa Pig!
What do you do to relax after a long shift?
Sue: Relaxing after work is short as we work 12-hour shifts on Dolphin, but on days off I enjoy walking, patchwork and spending time with my beautiful grandchildren!
Emily: We do 12-hour shifts on Dolphin so I relax by falling asleep! On my days off I go to Pilates, drink coffee and catch up with friends.
If you weren’t a nurse what would you be doing?
Emily: If I wasn’t a nurse I would be a film maker!
Sue: No other thoughts than becoming a nurse!
If you would like to support great care at the RCH, see www.rchfoundation.org.au.
If you’d like to know how about what to expect during your stay on Dolphin Ward, you can download the My RCH app here.