Meet Hayley G
Critical Care Nurse, NSW
Tell us about your job? I'm a Registered Critical Care Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit in Bega on the South Coast.
What’s your favourite part about your job? My favourite part of my job is caring for a critically ill patient who is moments away from death, to watch them walk out on their two feet days later. Knowing that I had a huge influence on their recovery absolutely melts my heart. So proud of my job.
Another favourite part of my job is holding my patient's hands when their family isn't around. Gives them so much peace especially when they're so scared and unwell.
Tell us about the story behind the photo you submitted? Oh gosh, so during the 2020 fires here on the South Coast, the nursing staff slept at the hospital for days as a lot of our staff were affected by the fires and had to evacuate their homes. I had firefighters with full body burns, families who lost their loved ones in the fires, and so many people missing. We couldn't get choppers in to get people to major burns units so we had to work with what we had. We worked overtime, waking up to every alarm, it was completely devastating and heartbreaking. I'm still emotionally exhausted from the fires.
A patient I cared for nearly lost his life in the fires trying to save his home and picked up this wombat on the run to safety. I held the precious baby while the patient's wife made herself some coffee and had some rest. So many tears. So many emotions.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your job?
So many safety precautions and drills are now in place for if and when the pandemic will surge. We can't have visitors for patients who are suspected covid which is heartbreaking, and I come home every day feeling dirty. We get changed and showered at the hospital before coming home and we keep our workplace so clean. We're ready! The Australian health system is AMAZING! This is the lucky country!
What’s been your hack for staying positive during such a challenging time? So my biggest challenge has been the general community treating me like a germ. I have people tell me to get out of the supermarket, people telling me that covid is a hoax, and family and friends (now that restrictions have lifted) not wanting me to visit or have visitors as they believe I'm infected (when I'm not). So, my mental health honestly hasn't been great.
I'm coping my taking my dogs for walks on the beach, embracing my immediate family often, drinking good coffee, reading good books, learning new songs on my guitars, getting some regular sun, putting on face masks and taking baths, keeping off social media (including not reading all the negativity and fear in the news as it can make me anxious), updating my nursing skills, writing letters to friends far away, getting odd jobs done like cleaning my Tupperware cupboard!
Working in an environment so fast paced and so exhausting, staying positive is incredibly important. Downtime is also really important. So every second I have to myself is so precious. I'm so appreciative of the current social isolation as it's given me time to breathe and reflect on what I have in front of me and I'm realising more and more how incredibly blessed I am.
Another great tip I have for staying positive, is in EVERY situation where i find myself upset/angry/anxious/etc, I find something to be glad about. For example, when I've been insulted for being a nurse in this pandemic, I find myself being glad that the person is concerned for their health and I'm glad that I get to spend quality time with my family. I'm also glad that I have a job. Look how easy that was!