Staff reflect on Waranga Health redevelopment
Published at: 19 Jul 2019
Born into the Waranga Health family
Waranga Health’s model of care project manager Sadie Vale said there was a real sense of excitement in the community with the opening of the redeveloped High St site.
“It has been a big change for staff,” she said.
“It’s going to do a lot for the town. It’s a beautiful building; it’s right in the main street – it’s just lovely.”
Ms Vale said it had been exciting to see the recent progression in health care in the small country town.
She said the service employed more than 100 people and there had been no jobs lost through the redevelopment.
“There’s some changes with some roles but everyone’s got roles so that’s a really good outcome”
Ms Vale has been an integral part of health care at Rushworth, contributing 24 years to the industry.
But her relationship with Waranga Memorial Hospital started long before that.
“I was actually born there,” she said.
“There are a lot of us that work there and were born there.
“And I also had my tonsils out there as a four-year-old.”
A job for life in Rushworth
Having been a part of the fabric at Waranga Health for 25 years, Nurse Unit manager Kylie Rogerson said the transition had been an emotional journey.
“Going up there (to Waranga Memorial Hospital) and feeling that coldness has been strange,” she said.
“It was such a lovely warm place.”
Ms Rogerson said it started to feel like home at the redeveloped High St site when residents and staff made the transition over.
“It still feels like a new job,” she said.
Ms Rogerson is responsible for the overall day-to-day management of nursing staff and the clinical care that is provided at Waranga Health, which she said had evolved with the redevelopment.
The move has been close to home for the local girl who grew up in the Rushworth community and got her first job out of university at the health care facility in 1994.
Ms Rogerson said the camaraderie and spirit of her colleagues was what made working in the field so special.
“Patients and staff know as much about our lives here as our families do at home,” she said. “We all gel and get along — there's a real warmth.”
Much like Ms Rogerson, many other members of staff consider a job in Rushworth a job for life.
“We have a few people who’ve travelled for 20 years from Shepparton,” she said.
“In the dark, in the fog, doing shift work — it’s incredible.”
While Ms Rogerson said the move had been hectic, it made sense for Rushworth’s health services to now be all on one site.
“It is in a central community area so accessibility has improved.”
Ms Rogerson believed the redevelopment would secure the town’s employment prospects for generations, offering opportunities to people across a range of disciplines.
“I’ve changed roles and evolved throughout the years, and it’s great to see Rushworth’s health services evolving too.
“It’s a big tick for me — it can only get better.”
New facility beings everyone together
Despite living in Mooroopna, Waranga Health Nurse Unit associate manager Hannah Mortlock makes the journey to work at Rushworth each day.
She said she moved to the Goulburn Valley about six-and-a-half years ago when she began applying for jobs.
“A previous manager of mine had worked here (at Rushworth) and at Tatura so they suggested I look for a job here,” she said.
Ms Mortlock said it had been an exciting time to be a part of the health care community in Rushworth with the redevelopment taking place.
“It has been hectic,” she said.
“There’s been many years of planning and we’ve still got a lot to do.”
Ms Mortlock said it was great to now have all staff, residents and patients on one site.
“It’s nice that everyone is here together; we’re all central now.”
Fresh start for food preparation
While eagerly awaiting their new kitchen, Waranga Health’s hotel services staff have worked hard to ensure the quality of food has been maintained during the redevelopment.
Hotel services staff members Sherie Kealy and Louise Adams said they had been cooking food for the residents at the old Waranga Memorial Hospital before transporting it to the new site on High St for patients and residents.
The pair said the plan to do this was put in place in late February and they were counting down the days to get into the new kitchen at Waranga Health.
“It has been a really big job,” Ms Adams said.
“Without our team we couldn’t have done it.”
The pair was proud to say there had been little disruption for residents and patients during the process, and not one person complained about cold food.
“The feedback from residents has made us feel like we’re doing a good job,” Ms Adams said.
The pair, along with fellow hotel services staff, will enjoy the use of a brand-new oven, new flooring and new benches at the High St site.
“We’re going to start everything fresh,” Ms Adams said.