Service in the blood
Born and bred in Shepparton, Di Gribble has dedicated her life to working in the health service.
“My father was a pharmacist,” said Ms Gribble. “I worked with him for a long time. Then I moved on to physiotherapy, and when I saw this job advertised I thought ‘I can do that!’ – I applied, and here I am 30 years later.”
Beginning her GV Health journey in 1989 as a lab assistant, Ms Gribble soon found her calling in the field of haematology.
“Much to my shock and horror, I had to learn to take blood,” said Ms Gribble. “However, I learned quickly - partly working in the lab and taking blood, then more taking blood, and now I only work on the wards taking blood.”
Ms Gribble’s day starts at 7am, when she goes onto the wards to collect doctors’ overnight requests and organises her rounds.
“I’m with the patients, nursing staff and doctors all day,” she said. “I have a bit of a chat as I go around – I have a pretty good rapport with a lot of the patients, as I’ve been taking their blood for so long.”
After her rounds on the medical ward, Ms Gribble moves on to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and then the children’s ward.
“The children can be a challenge,” she said. “You’re not just dealing with a child, but also an apprehensive parent – you have to reassure them both.”
Working with a play therapist, Ms Gribble finds her primary strategy with kids is distraction.
“Most of the time I talk to the kids about all sorts of things – their dog, my dog, my football team,” she said. “You try to do it as quickly as possible!”
Ms Gribble’s distinctive rabbit brooch has key a key component in her distraction arsenal for 25 years.
“It’s amazing how many people recognise it,” she said. “Even elderly people need a diversion – they focus on the rabbit and half the time they don’t even notice it’s done.”
While needle phobia can be very common, Ms Gribble says that a joke can often ease a patient’s concern. “The major thing is to make people feel comfortable and confident that you’re going to do a good job and that the pain will be minimal,” she said. Ms Gribble is, however, amazed by one particular group of patients and their aversion to having blood taken.
“The amount of people with tattoos who say they can’t stand needles!” she laughed. “You can stand hundreds of buzzy little needles on you for six hours but not this one?”
Turning to the redevelopment, Ms Gribble is very excited.
“It’s going to be a wonderful hospital,” she said. “It’s great to know what a good, growing health service we have here, with all the excellent services and employment opportunities – it’s the future, we’ll have everything.”
Ms Gribble is effusive about her long career with GV Health.
“This place has been incredible, I love it – it’s like a home to me,” she said. “I love the people and I love the staff – I’ve loved every minute of it so far!”