National Dolphin Day!

Today is National Dolphin Day which celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of dolphins, and educates everyone about how they support our marine ecosystem.

In the spirit of this day, we are shining a light on the amazing work happening in Dolphin, our medical short stay ward. Dolphin cares for children who present to the Emergency Department and require care for up to 48 hours with a range of medical conditions.

To celebrate this day, and as part of this week’s #ChampionsforChildren profile, we spoke to Assistant Nurse Unit Manager of Dolphin, Claire Limcangco, to learn more about the work she does each day that helps us provide great care to our Dolphin patients, and how her role changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does a typical day at the RCH look like for you?

My normal shift begins with a huddle and handover from the previous shift including a review of admissions and discharges. Our main objective is patient flow, so this allows me to assess and plan for good patient flow throughout the shift during what is often a stressful time for the family.

Most patients come in acutely unwell with common childhood illnesses like asthma, gastroenteritis or eczema, and we generally see an improvement in their health within 24 hours.

Overall, my role includes supporting staff and patients and regularly liaising with the Emergency Department to address and resolve any issues.

How did COVID-19 affect the care you offer?

Dolphin was restructured to support the hospital during the height of the pandemic, which made my role more challenging. As we treat infection control as the highest priority, a typical day can quickly become very busy for myself and the team.

Droplets and airborne precaution is a rigorous process, and we keep the quality standards exceptional due to the significant efforts of every staff member in Dolphin. The wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for long periods of time to protect us and our patients against COVID-19 can be challenging. Part of my role is to ensure everyone has regular breaks as a respite from wearing the PPE.

Our criteria for admission and visit policy also changed, and continue to change, which has made it more challenging to communication with already stressed and anxious parents.

What motivated you to become a paediatric nurse?

When I started nursing in New Zealand, paediatrics was not my main interest, however when I joined Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland I found that I had a natural rapport with children. I quickly realised that caring for sick kids was my passion and this coming December 2021 will be my 10th year at The Royal Children’s Hospital and 20th year as a paediatric nurse.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?
I find that giving my time and care to help families and making a difference in the life of others is rewarding. I have even been given the title of ‘baby whisperer’ on Dolphin as I can make the most unsettled baby sleep with ease.

I am also proud of the support I provide to my team. Difficult shifts can make or break a team, but I put a lot of effort into making each shift as smooth and easy as possible which is appreciated by the staff.

For me, a simple thank you and a smile from staff and families before going home is rewarding.

Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself or something the team may not know about you?
Most people do not know that I have an unusual phobia – trypophobia. This means that I am afraid of circles, balls, or holes in groups. I also have a fear of snakes, I cringe even when I see an image and would probably lose consciousness if I see a live one!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love watching Korean dramas on Netflix and love to spend time with my family. My husband thinks that I am addicted to online shopping, however, I find it therapeutic scrolling through pages of beautiful clothes and accessories.

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