Nurses up-skill

Western Health nurses Jessica Wren and Barbara Lennon. (Supplied)

Tate Papworth

Western Health has bolstered its nursing staff as it continues to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 nurses at Western Health have taken part in a series of training programs giving them the skills to work in the intensive care unit.

A further 20 nurses completed a course to work in emergency department triage and more than 50 subacute nurses refreshed their skills to care for more acute patients.

As part of preparations for the coronavirus pandemic, the training included face-to-face and online learning, and the opportunity to shadow other nursing staff during their shifts.

Western Health nurse Barbara Lennon works in electronic medical records at Western Health. She’d previously worked as an ICU nurse and used the program to refresh her skills.

“I’d worked in ICU for about 13 years – it’s like riding a bike, I don’t think you really forget it,” Ms Lennon said.

“I’d always wanted to go back to help …. I’ve got skills why not use them?

“When this opportunity came up I jumped at i t… it gave me the confidence that I can do it.”

Ms Lennon said the one thing that really struck her was how much better equipment has become.

“Medicine moves so quickly, but one thing I’ve noticed is that the equipment that’s used now is more modern and is actually easier to use.

“I’m just so happy to be able to get out there and help.”

Fellow nurse Jessica Wren works in acute aged care at Western Health.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she enrolled to expand her skills for both the emergency department and ICU.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to keep learning so this was a great opportunity,” Ms Wren said.

“I’d actually been looking into doing some postgraduate training just as the pandemic started.

“As well as learning new skills in this program … it’s also been a really good refresher of the basics I learnt at university.”