On level three of the RCH you’ll find Possum ward, a surgical short stay unit that cares for a range of surgical patients before and after their operations.
Nurses Ebony and Monika told us what it’s like to care for patients in the ‘tree tops’ of the RCH.
Can you tell us about the patients you care for on Possum?
Monika: On Possum ward patients require care for a few days, usually after surgery from a wide variety of surgical departments including orthopaedics, ENT, general surgery, plastics and maxillofacial, gastroenterology and cardiology.
What makes Possum unique from other wards?
Ebony: Possum is much smaller compared to the other wards at RCH. Possum is a 12-bed unit with the flexibility to increase to 20 beds. Possum has a high turnover of patients; for example, in one day we often discharge every patient and then fill the ward with new surgical patients.
What attracted you to working at the RCH?
Ebony: For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to work with children. I had placement on Possum as an undergraduate nurse and loved every moment of it. I was lucky enough to be offered a graduate role on Possum in 2015, and to this day I still love working here.
Monika: During my undergraduate nursing degree, I had the opportunity to work in a paediatric ward, and I knew from day one that I wanted to work with children. The RCH was my top preference for my graduate nurse year, and I am delighted to continue my nursing career working in such a wonderful organisation.
Why did you get into nursing?
Ebony: I wanted to make a difference and better the lives of others. My great grandmother was a nurse and I always looked up to her. I think she partly inspired me to become a nurse.
Monika: I have always been passionate about helping those in need, working with children and working within the healthcare industry. Nursing is also a career that offers many opportunities in a variety of settings and a variety of roles.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?
Ebony: There are so many rewarding things about being a nurse, especially a paediatric nurse. Children are so resilient and inspire me every single day.
Monika: The most rewarding thing about being a nurse is building a rapport with patients, making their experience as comfortable as possible, and seeing them discharged in the shortest time possible. A smile, anecdote or hug during a shift definitely makes a memorable day!
Is there a particular patient you’ve cared for who stands out for you?
Ebony: Many patients stand out however one patient and family, in particular, I will never forget as I was able to support and care for them on Possum during a difficult diagnosis. I’m glad I was able to be there and help them through such a tough time in their life.
Monika: Each and every patient I care for inspires me and teaches me something new. Children are so inspiring. They are always looking at the bright side of life, are extremely brave, and take on life with the greatest enthusiasm.
How do you relax after a long shift?
Ebony: After a long shift I love sitting down with a cup of tea and watching one of my favourite TV shows or taking a nice long nap. I also try to attend dance classes whenever I can.
Monika: Depending on the day, I will go for a walk, watch a good movie or read a book, start a painting or just hang out with my partner or friends.
If you weren’t a nurse, what would you be doing instead?
Ebony: If I weren’t a nurse I would love to be an event planner or a photographer. Although, I love being a nurse and can’t imagine working anywhere but at the RCH. Maybe I could take these up as a new hobby one day?
Monika: I am also a qualified veterinary nurse and paramedic, so I think I would work within one of these professions if I could no longer work as a nurse.
To find out more about Possum ward, download My RCH App from the App Store or Google Play.