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LOOK: A Day in the Life of an Emergency Room Nurse in Australia

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How is life within the emergency department? within the ER, time moves quickly and there’s not lots of your time to regulate. One minute, you would possibly work with a critically declining patient who has been during a major car accident. Next, you’ll see a patient with a coronavirus.

Every day within the ER is different, and ER nurses must be able to adapt and reply to new situations at a moment’s notice. Although working within the ER may well be too fast-paced for a few nurses, it’s an incredibly rewarding field.

 

Today on the HCC we interview Beau Dupen, an RN from Royal Darwin Hospital.

 

A Day in the Life of an Emergency Room Nurse in Australia

Where are you, and what is daily working life like for you right now?

I am in Darwin, working at the Royal Darwin Hospital Emergency Department. Daily working life has changed a lot. Our Department has had a tremendous response and reacted accordingly to all of the global changes. Daily work is in some ways very much business as usual with responding to the continuing demand for emergency presentations, however, there is now an additional function of the department which prepares and reacts to COVID-19 related concerns. This means that there are huge structural, clinical and personal changes that all staff are experiencing.

What have you found to be the single toughest nut to crack in this situation?

I’d say the clarity of information. Not so much for myself or my work colleagues as we are fed information from a central source through the hospital with a very measured approach. My friends, family and the general public seem to be overwhelmed with conflicting information and come to us as health professionals for answers. It’s hard to give a response that is practical and serious but also measured with compassion and empathy.

What can workplaces do to better support FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES during this time?

I think we are lucky that we are able to have some form of ‘social life’ with our colleges at work. However, all of us are experiencing hardships in some form outside of work so workplaces can set up social interactions and supports that are appropriate to the changes. For example, online communities and interactions that keep people connected and motivated while at home.

What impact do you expect this crisis to have on the global jobs market?

I’m no expert in this field but I’d imagine that there will be a greater increase in people pursuing ‘essential’ work in the future. There may be a reduction in positions around art and creativity.
People are aware of the extraordinary work going on in the healthcare sector right now. But what about the forgotten heroes – people who might be exposing themselves to risk to keep the wheels of our societies turning? Who are the vulnerable workers, and what can be done to protect them?

This is an excellent point and something that should not be overlooked. It’s imperative that we value less acknowledged people such as cleaners and store people. Minor changes in the public mindset can really influence this, for example, referring to cleaners as Public Hygiene Workers may help people consider their role differently.

Times of the crisis have historically also been opportunities for change. Are you optimistic that as we emerge from this, it could be a chance to create a better future?

I’m definitely optimistic for a better future after this. I feel that once people come to realise the great impact they can have through a collective approach to the health of their communities they will be able to feel a greater sense of control and influence over health. I think this will motivate communities to think differently and feel empowered to support those who are vulnerable. I think having positive health outcomes from travel restrictions, lockdown laws and social distancing will demonstrate how as individuals we have the power to influence health which will change people’s mindsets in the future.
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