Learn more about the incredible work CALHN nurses do each and every day

International Nurses Day (12 May) is an opportunity to celebrate the crucial role CALHN’s nursing workforce play in delivering quality care and improving health outcomes across the community. 

More than 7000 nurses work across a diverse range of roles at CALHN, making up nearly half our total workforce. Every day their commitment, compassion and skills make a significant difference to the experience and outcomes of our patients. 

CALHN’s Acting Executive Director of Nursing and Patient Experience, Annette Cieslak, says the work of a nurse was incredibly varied and far-reaching.  

“Nurses play a critical role throughout the health system from direct patient care through to positions in leadership, management and strategic planning,” Annette says. 

“International nurses day is also an opportunity to celebrate the collegiality and mutual support that nurses provide to each other.

“I am proud of our highly skilled, dedicated and compassionate CALHN nurses and there role in serving our community in providing quality care.”  

Here is a snapshot of some of the improvement programs and exceptional care provided by CALHN nurses, as we celebrate International Nurses Day 2024. 

Lasting legacy of CALHN nurses 

CALHN nurse educator Joy Both has worked at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) for more than 30 years and during that time has undertaken 10 visits to East Timor with the Overseas Specialist Surgical Association of Australia to share her knowledge and skills to support our closest overseas neighbour. 

A life-changing event volunteering as nursing team leader for the SA medical team that travelled to Banda Aceh following the 2004 tsunami, led to her involvement with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in East Timor. Joy’s volunteer work has been recognised with a humanitarian award at the 2019 SA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence awards. 

In this episode of the Our People podcast, we speak to Joy about the impact of her role educating Central Adelaide perioperative nursing staff and upskilling health care workers in East Timor. 

Listen here: The power of education: CALHN expertise leaves a lasting legacy – Our People podcast (health.sa.gov.au) 

 ‘STARnurses’ coordinating a trial to reduce hospital readmission 

The first days after going home from hospital can feel scary. 

Proactive healthcare to support people after they are discharged from hospital is the focus of a new nurse-led program being trialled at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 

Known as TToMMI (Telehealth Transition of people with MultiMorbidity), the trial focuses on older patients with multiple health conditions including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or cancer.  

Nurses are the first point of contact. At the core of the TToMMI approach are Nurse Transition Coordinators Nicole and Stan, also referred to as STARnurses (STAR is short for Supporting Transitions and Referrals). 

Read more here: Meet the ‘STARnurses’ coordinating a trial to reduce hospital readmission – CALHN – Central Adelaide Local Health Network 

Improving mental health is key in prisoner rehabilitation. Nurses are part of the solution 

SA Prison Health Service nurses are receiving specialist psychosocial training as part of a new research project to support the mental health needs of people in custody in rural South Australia. 

Conducted in partnership with the University of South Australia, the trial hopes to show that specialised skills in an approach known as Behavioural Activation can help frontline nurses deliver evidenced-based mental health treatments within the correctional health system. 

Mobilong Prison registered nurse, Jolene, says the training is filling a much-needed gap in the system. 

“I am very excited to be a part of the Behavioural Activation clinical trial and I believe that addressing high rates of depression within the prison population through psychosocial treatment, will not only have a positive effect on consumers, but also reduce reoffending,” she says. 

Read more here: Improving mental health is key in prisoner rehabilitation. Nurses are part of the solution – CALHN – Central Adelaide Local Health Network 

Innovative, nurse-led approach to address major blood loss 

Blood loss is a major challenge after traumatic accidents and for some surgery patients. 

As managers within the RAH Anaesthetic Nursing Team, Therese and Daryl have established a team of specifically trained nurses that provides a safe and effective solution for patients experiencing significant blood loss. 

The approach is called Intraoperative Cell Salvage, or ICS. 

“ICS is a process that involves using a cell salvage machine to collect patient’s lost blood during elective and emergency surgery,” says Therese. 

More than 500 patients at the RAH have safely recovered from major blood loss thanks to ICS. 

Read more here: RAH’s innovative, nurse-led approach to address major blood loss – CALHN – Central Adelaide Local Health Network 

Guiding cancer patients with expertise and compassion 

Head and Neck Cancer Care Consultant, Caroline Whiteford, is guiding patients through the intricate pathways of head and neck cancer treatment. 

“I’m really passionate about this type of cancer,”  

“It’s not a cancer that gets a lot of a spotlight, but last year alone 5,300 people were diagnosed,” Caroline said. 

Navigating the challenging landscape of head and neck cancer – which includes throat, tonsils, mouth, tongue, salivary glands, facial, neck and skin cancers – can often be gruelling but Caroline is proving to be a constant for patients. 

“I’m currently overseeing 120 patients,” said Caroline. 

“Nursing is of course my role, but as Care Consultant I become someone who can assist patients in many other ways through a really difficult pathway in a very big and acute facility.” 

Learn more here: Guiding cancer patients with expertise and compassion – CALHN – Central Adelaide Local Health Network 

Nurse-led research helping diabetes patients 

Whether they’re being treated for a broken leg or are visiting hospital to receive dialysis, many patients throughout different areas of a hospital also have diabetes. This adds an extra layer of complexity for clinicians and patients. 

In this episode of Research Pulse, RAH Research Nurse Dr Rebecca Munt, speaks about her work on how we are improving healthcare delivery to better care for people with a diabetes diagnosis. 

Listen here: Understanding the hospital landscape for patients with diabetes – Research Pulse podcast (health.sa.gov.au) 

Emergency nurse calls on others to be a GoodSAM responder 

Travis Sugden, RAH Emergency Nurse has recently signed up as part of a new alert system helping to respond to cardiac emergencies in the community. 

He wants other registered health practitioners to join him.   

The global alert system, GoodSAM uses ambulance systems and a smartphone app to alert registered GoodSAM responders to nearby cardiac emergencies so they can assist while an ambulance is on the way.  

The lifesaving system has now expanded to accept registrations from registered health practitioners and tertiary healthcare students.   

Read more here: Emergency nurse calls on others to be a GoodSAM responder – CALHN – Central Adelaide Local Health Network 

Three GoodSAM responders, two nurses and a paramedic.