Carolyn Tozzi has worked as a nurse in Canberra for 20 years.
22 May 2020
Advanced Practice Nurse Carolyn Tozzi was on shift at the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre when it made the full switch in March from providing free health care for minor injuries and illnesses to COVID-19 testing.
Currently known as the Weston Creek Respiratory Assessment Clinic (RAC), the centre has since expanded its services to provide clinical support for COVID-19 patients who do not require hospital admission.
Carolyn, who has worked in the ACT public health system for two decades, says Canberra Health Services (CHS) nurses are good at adapting and innovating to provide the best care for their patients.
‘Providing quality patient care and being part of a great team at Weston Creek are the best parts of what I do,’ she says.
It has been six years since Carolyn joined the Walk-in Centre network, and she has worked at the Weston centre since it opened in late 2019.
She says the COVID-19 outbreak was initially challenging due to heightened anxiety in the community, particularly if a client did not meet the testing criteria in place at the time.
Care taken to prevent the spread of the virus within the facility minimises risks to staff associated with treating suspected COVID-19 patients. There have been no cases of infection arising from this Centre.
‘I’m really particular about infection control,’ Carolyn says.
‘If you follow the infection control principles, your chances of getting COVID-19 from the workplace are significantly reduced.
‘We all look out for each other, so if we see someone that doesn’t have their mask on properly, we’ll let them know, because it’s about protecting each other.’
Before the centre became the primary testing centre for the ACT (joined later by the drive-through site at EPIC), Carolyn and her colleagues provided free health care for minor injuries and illnesses at Weston.
With experience in paediatrics, maternal and child health and the Hospital in the Home program, Carolyn finds Walk-in Centre nursing to be the most rewarding work of her career.
‘I like the fact that you never know what’s coming through the door,’ she says.
‘And we have a really great team here, so that’s the best part of doing what I do, is the team that you work with.’
Standard Walk-in Centre care continues at the Belconnen, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong Walk-in Centres, and will begin again at Weston once the Public Health Emergency is over. A fifth centre will open later this year in Dickson.
Carolyn says Walk-in Centre nurses help patients to navigate the health system.
‘If someone can’t get the care that they need in our Walk-in Centres, we pride ourselves on our ability to find a place for them to go,’ she says.
‘We never say, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you’. We’ll always find them a doctor’s appointment or details of another service that they can access.’
Walk-in Centre opening hours across the ACT are from 7.30am to 10pm daily, including public holidays. No appointment is needed.