Take a look inside GV Health’s emergency department
Published at: 30 Oct 2019
MORE THAN 36,270 PATIENTS PRESENTED TO GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH’S EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IN THE PAST FINANCIAL YEAR.
Data released by the Victorian Government earlier this year demonstrated Goulburn Valley Health (GV Health) treated 100 per cent of its category 1 (the sickest or most critical) emergency patients immediately on arrival.
This positive outcome is despite a significant increase in the number of patients having presented to the emergency department (ED) during the past 12 months.
GV Health Executive Director Clinical Operations Donna Sherringham said the figures demonstrated the hospital’s ED had improved its treatment rates despite more patients being admitted to the department each year.
Ms Sherringham said there had been more than a 14 per cent increase in demand over the past two financial years, particularly with patients in the category 1 to 3 ranges, which rose by 23.6 per cent over the same period.
She added that the overall increase was due to people in the community being more acutely unwell.
“People are using the emergency department for the right reasons in that the increase in demand is for the sickest patients, so they absolutely need to be here.
“As a result of them being so unwell, we have also seen an increase in the number of patients coming into our ED by ambulance,” she said.
Over the past two financial years, patients who have arrived to the ED by ambulance increased by more than 24 per cent, which equates to a much busier ED environment.
“Our staff is working very hard and do a terrific job to treat and care for people who are more unwell.
“And because more people are unwell there is a need to admit more people into our inpatient areas, while we are also transferring patients to hospitals in Melbourne for higher levels of treatment,” Ms Sherringham said.
“So overall, we have not only an increase in demand, but we are managing to treat them in a more timely way.
“With the current expansion taking place (at) our ED, we will be able to recruit more staff and have more spaces to be able to treat more of our community and give them the best possible care we can.”
MEET SOME OF THE STAFF:
JOE O'CONNOR, REGISTERED NURSE, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
Joe O’Connor said he felt like he made a huge difference to people’s lives working in GV Health’s emergency department.
The registered nurse said ED could often be seen as an intimidating, fast-paced environment but he had thoroughly enjoyed working there since starting in February.
“I couldn’t ever have imagined doing this when I was 18 years old though,” he said.
For Mr O’Connor, it was his own personal experience that prompted him to change careers from firefighting to nursing.
“I was in a firetruck accident,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said the care he received after the accident, as well as having family members who were nurses, encouraged him to take up the career.
After completing his Division 2, Mr O’Connor went on to study a Bachelor of Nursing at La Trobe University in Shepparton, gaining his Division 1 qualification.
It was while completing placement at GV Health’s Graham St campus during a three-month rotation in the emergency department that Mr O’Connor decided it was the place for him.
“I thought this is pretty good,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said his role involved assisting doctors to complete tests on the patients.
“I assist with what’s needed,” he said.
After growing up in Seymour, Mr O’Connor said he also enjoyed working in the regional setting, which allowed him to get to the family farm as often as he could to help out.
BRONI CLARK, ASSOCIATE NURSE UNIT MANAGER, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
After working in GV Health’s emergency department for more than a decade, Broni Clark recommended the area as a great place for all healthcare staff to experience at some stage.
Ms Clark said she began working in the ED 11 years ago, after studying a Bachelor of Nursing and going on to do her critical care training.
“I think it’s good for everyone to see how (the emergency department) functions,” she said.
“And to see the reality of how many patients can go through at the one time.
“We’re (also) working with some of the sickest patients.”
Ms Clark said her role involved the management of shifts, ensuring patient fl ow and that everyone was being looked after.
She explained that when a patient arrived at the ED, they were first triaged and placed into a category to determine the level of urgency of care.
“At that point the patient is logged into the system,” she said.
Ms Clark said ED staff would also do as much for patients as they could while they were in the waiting room, including providing pain relief if needed.
After the patient received a prognosis, Ms Clark said they would then be moved onto the appropriate wards or alternatively discharged to go home.
“We do have a huge amount of patients,” she said.
But for Ms Clark, working in the ED had always been something she wanted to do, having always worked at the Graham St facility.
AMY HENDERSON, CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT & INTENSIVE CARE UNIT
Amy Henderson said the best thing about working in the emergency department was being among a great team in a supportive environment.
After joining the ED team 18 months ago, Ms Henderson said she loved working there, despite not having rotated through the department while completing placement.
“I did a rotation in ICU and decided I wanted to do critical care,” she said.
While the ED could be busy and chaotic at times, according to Ms Henderson, she said they got to care for a huge portion of the community.
Ms Henderson said her role as a clinical nurse specialist included working on projects to improve both the ED and ICU.
“I still work on the floor as well,” she said.
She explained that a recent project undertaken in the ICU involved improving the assessment process for patients with delirium.
Ms Henderson splits her time between the ED and ICU, doing fortnightly rotations, and said the roles were often full of excitement and adrenaline.
“You always have something different to do,” she said.