Calvary emergency department nurse Louise Veitch.

Calvary emergency department nurse Louise Veitch.

26 November 2019

While the urgency and energy of the Calvary Public Hospital Bruce Emergency Department (ED) creates a strong camaraderie among staff, ED nurse Louise Veitch believes it is being prepared that ensures the team are ready for each day’s challenges.

With the Calvary ED regularly seeing around 160 patients a day - and that number sometimes approaching 200 - Louise says: “TV shows about emergency departments make great viewing, but the reality is that high quality urgent care and treatment does not come about by a swashbuckling George Clooney-type figure barking demands and shouting instructions."

“A TV star-style doctor or nurse would actually just make everyone – including patients – pretty unsettled," she added.

She says planning and preparation are the basis for ED services at Calvary.

“Equipment and consumable items are stored and stocked ready for use, everything has a place so we can all get it when we need it.”

Louise says nursing and medical staff are rostered to ensure the right skills mix at all times of the day.

“And we could not get by without the support of our allied health, facilities, admin, and housekeeping and hospitality teams.”

Being a 24/7 service means everything needs to be ready to go, anytime, every day.

Louise completed her nursing studies at the Australian Catholic University and has worked in the Calvary Emergency Department since 2016.

Not long after starting work as an Emergency Department nurse, she observed that it was easy for the overall urgency and energy of the department to be focused on clinical treatment with less attention being given to patients’ non-clinical needs and the pastoral needs of her colleagues.

“Even though most patients’ time in the ED is relatively short, we need to establish an appropriate and respectful relationship with that patient, and their family or carers, during their time there,” Louise says.

She also realised that while she was working with a wonderful team of people, the ED was a demanding workplace and the professional as well as personal needs and wellbeing of colleagues were a priority.

“So I gathered my thoughts around both matters and pulled together a concept for a learning program that would be a reminder that these things matter a lot, for patients and staff alike,” she said.

“After working and reworking the idea, I was able to demonstrate an initiative I called ‘Raise the Bar’.”

Calvary Hospital adopted the program for its ED team.

“In October I presented ‘Raise the Bar’ at the 2019 International Conference of Emergency Nurses in Adelaide, and since doing so, colleagues from around Australia have contacted me asking if they can use the program, in their departments for their staff,” Louise adds.

She is providing them with the resources and sharing her experience of the program’s roll out, to help them introduce ‘Raise the Bar’ in their service.

“I really love my job! I appreciate the trust that people place in me and my colleagues. I feel privileged to care for patients when they feel vulnerable, anxious, and are hurting physically or emotionally.

“Hospitals, and the Emergency Department in particular, can be an unfamiliar, disempowering and challenging setting for patients and their family.

“If I can support them, and be a great clinician, it gives me enormous satisfaction,” Louise said.


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