I vote 1/ Aussie of the year 2016


A day in the
life of a
district nurse
The work day starts at 7.30 am when
the nurse comes to Timboon and
District Healthcare Service to collect
her equipment and car. The equipment
includes wound care dressing supplies,
client history folders, car keys, mobile phone and monitoring equipment.
She will check her emails, phone messages, and collect her list of people
to visit for that day. Completing a sign in/out book ensures the Healthcare
Service knows who is in the building or out on rounds, and a copy of
her client list will stay with other staff.
Her fist client could be around the corner or 20kms away.
In Corangamite it’s not unusual to travel 100kms in a day. She will try to
see people for hygiene assistance early as most people prefer this in
the mornings. Then she may see someone for wound care. As people
age of course the body’s ability to heal quickly is reduced and some
wounds which might also be affected by other diseases can take
months to slowly come together. Other services can be taking blood
or monitoring of blood pressure, whilst some people need fortnightly
or monthly injections.
The Department of Health and Human Services requests that the
district nurses survey people over the age of 65 for their risk of falling.
This involves a questionnaire and conversation about footwear, eye tests,
mats on the flor, steps with no rails and medications that may increase
their risk factors.
Then, there are the odd jobs that just help people out, like teaching an
elderly person how to use the microwave or arranging the burial of a pet.
Sometimes we help change batteries in clocks and torches or even help
to move cows off the road.
In the early morning it’s special to see wildlife on our rounds.
There are koala, deer, foxes, ducks and once a nurse came across
2 eagles on the road in front of her car.
Being in someone’s house is a great opportunity to talk one on one
to people about their health problems or worries. The nurse can offer
suggestions as to the best place to go to have their queries answered.
That might be the general practitioner, the dietitian or the My Aged Care
The district nurse may need to fill the car with fuel or visit the town
pharmacy before returning to the Healthcare Service. Of course lunch
is included in the day, and the staff at Timboon choose to have lunch
together, before moving on to paperwork. The nurse will enter all client
visits into the appropriate computer program and arrange the next day’s
runs. Some Information will be forwarded to the doctors or enquiries
made on behalf of the clients.
During the year student nurses, doctors and occupational therapists
will travel with the district nurse to learn from her and gain insight into
the services available to people. Most students find these days very
enlightening and rewarding.
Some nurses are on committees in other areas of the Healthcare Service
and participate in meetings to keep up to date and assist in the success
and overall functioning of the Healthcare Service.
A typical day will conclude at 4.00 pm.
Sherryl Mueller
Manager, TDHS District Nursing Service

And then she comes home and helps me with the fish farm.

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