Meet our NUMs: Elise from Cockatoo!

Did you know Elise, our NUM from Cockatoo was a table tennis state champion? Keep reading to find out more interesting facts about Elise, like the most rewarding part of her job and the resident funny man she would have dinner with.

What makes your ward and the patients you care for different from other wards?
Cockatoo is a great team that cares for a diverse range of patients from babies through to adolescents. We are specialists in neuroscience care, including patients who have undergone neurosurgery or have neurological conditions. We also care for gastroenterology patients, including liver and intestinal transplant patients. In addition, we look after patients with endocrinology and metabolic conditions. The variety of patients we care for makes it extremely interesting and we are continuously learning as each patient has a unique story.

Tell us about your RCH journey. When you joined, the roles you’ve held here?
I started at RCH in my graduate year, almost nine years ago and have come full cycle. I first worked in the old hospital on what we then knew as 8th floor (neurosciences) and 6th floor (oncology). After my graduate year I continued nursing on both wards and we transitioned across to the new hospital. During this time I moved across to Cockatoo full time, where I worked as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager. Since then I have worked on Kelpie, Kookaburra, Platypus as Nurse Unit Manager, before returning home to Cockatoo, where I am the permanent Nurse Unit Manager. It has been an amazing experience working within so many different teams and specialties along the way.

Talk us through what a typical day looks like for you?
Due to the complexity of patients on Cockatoo, every day is very different. I touch base with the members of the multidisciplinary team, including our lovely ward clerks, volunteers, nurses, nurse co-ordinators, clinical support nurses and Associate Nurse Unit Managers to assess the acuity and demand of the ward and the needs of the family and patients. I attend various meetings throughout the day to ensure the operational needs of the ward and hospital are met, as well as committees that work behind the scenes to ensure we are continuously improving to deliver excellent patient and family centred care.

What is the most rewarding thing about your current role?
It’s so exciting seeing nurses grow and develop by nurturing and mentoring them throughout their nursing career to enable them to be highly skilled and proficient in delivering excellent patient care. I am very much believe that we need to care for our nurses so we can care for our patients and families.

What is your favourite RCH memory or achievement?
The most amazing thing about working with children is how resilient they are, even when all the odds are against them. I will never forget caring for a patient who became increasingly unwell throughout their 12-plus month wait for a liver transplant. The patient received a new liver and ultimately was discharged from hospital a healthy young girl. It’s hard to describe the feeling of when the patient and family comes to visit the ward and they are absolutely flourishing. Knowing that you had a small impact in their journey is what motivates me to come to work every day.

In five words, tell us what you love you about your work?
Helping patients achieve their goals.

If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and why?
Robin Williams. For those who know me, I love to laugh, and there was nothing funnier than the great man himself and his many personalities, including Patch Adams, Mrs Doubtfire and, of course, the Genie.

What attracted you to working at the RCH?
My younger twin brothers were born prematurely at 26 weeks. I remember visiting the hospital when I was little, and it ignited my interest in working within the healthcare field. Ever since then I only ever wanted to be a nurse.

Can you tell us something about yourself that your staff might be surprised to learn?
In high school I was a table tennis state champion. Challenge accepted.

One comment for “Meet our NUMs: Elise from Cockatoo!”

  1. Sandra McLaglen

    We had some contact with Elise on Cockatoo then we moved to Kelpie (as had she)
    Elise supported us on what was a very emotional ward move… She was caring & compassionate and probably doesn’t even realise how much she helped.


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