International Nurses Day takes place on 12 May each year to mark the contributions that nurses like Jarrod Trudgeon make to our communities.
Jarrod is at the forefront of tackling two of the most challenging aspects of nursing at Bundaberg Hospital – managing the patient journey and workforce planning.
Jarrod shared his own journey as a nurse and what he enjoys about his current roles as both a Bundaberg Hospital after-hours nurse manager and in the recruitment and workforce planning space.
“The after-hours managers are a touch point for our staff and for our patients journeying within the Hospital and Health Service (HHS),” Jarrod said.
“We're here to help organise our bed allocations and the day-to-day running of the hospital.
“For any patients that come through the HHS we generally have a handle on what they're doing and where they're going to.
“I enjoy the challenge of it more than anything else.
“I've been a clinical-based nurse for years and years and years prior to this but I still feel like I can use the knowledge and skills I've developed through that as well.”
Jarrod describes the ability to think on your feet as crucial to his role due to the complexity of patients coming through multiple entry points – whether that’s emergency, elective surgery, Hospital in The Home or other community services.
“Our service is always looking for ways to improve our patient’s journey and improve a patient's care,” he said.
“There's a lot of initiatives going on now as well, which are changing the way we offer that care.
“We're more community based – so we're looking at treating people in their homes or, when they are no longer acute, treating them within a rural facility where they can continue to recover.
“Or we refer them to our other services, like our Hospital in The Home service and other community services.”
An opportunity to reflect
International Nurses Day provides an opportunity for Jarrod and his fellow nurses to reflect on their profession and its values of care, compassion, teamwork, empathy, professionalism, respect for all and advocating for patients and staff but Jarrod stated it was a pathway he didn’t envision taking as a child.
“I never saw myself as a nurse growing up, that wasn't part of my plan or what I wanted to be when I was a kid,” he said.
“I managed to fall into it, and I've loved it ever since.
“I knew within the first six months of doing it at university that's what I wanted to do as a career.
“I hugely enjoy the interaction I have with the patients and the staff.
“I enjoy the satisfaction I get from making a difference to someone else.”
Jarrod studied psychology at the University of Newcastle before switching into nursing where he thought he would end up practising in the mental health field.
“I thought I was going down the mental health route and I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I would – so I thought I'd try clinical style nursing for a while and I just fell in love with it,” he said.
Initially working in a wide variety of nursing roles at John Hunter Hospital, Jarrod then worked at a private hospital before heading up to Queensland in 2004.
“Bundy was the first place that got back to me, and I've been here ever since,” he said.
“We've raised our kids here and a myriad of animals – dogs and cats – and have the house and everything.
“I love the weather, I love the people, I’m a huge fan of being outdoors being in the water, surfing, fishing, and diving.
“You can't beat the weather up here either – it's just gorgeous 90 per cent of the time.
“The locals have been very welcoming – I’m not quite sure I am considered local yet, I haven't been here quite long enough to be called a local, but we're working on it.”
Early in his career, Jarrod spent time in a number of specialty areas – from mental health to ICU to surgical – and in his current work with nursing recruitment and workforce he is seeing more nurses develop multi-disciplinary skills before specialising.
“I have always wanted to develop my skills and improve on what I'm doing,” he said.
“That is something that I've tried to instil in everyone that sort of comes through us as well.
“Giving them a broader skill base makes it much more attractive for them.
“We’re finding now that staff coming through don't particularly want to be tied down to one area for a long period of time, they want to experience more and whether that's because they want to further their careers or doing travel nursing further down the line.
“They want to generalise before they move into specialty nursing.
“And we find if we can give them that experience, give them that sort of exposure, then it's best for them and for us as HHS as well.”
The evolving needs of the Australian and Wide Bay communities has changed the health system and Jarrod says that has led to challenges for nurses and their clinical and non-clinical colleagues.
“Nursing has changed drastically in my career over the last 20 odd years, especially in the Wide Bay,” Jarrod said.
“We have an aging population, we have a much higher acuity or high care need population.”
Like many of his colleagues, it’s the knowledge that he’s made a difference to his patients that is rewarding to Jarrod.
“We have these people, they come in broken, we fix them, we get them back to their families, we get them home and get them well again,” he said.
“That quick sort of resolution of an issue is something that I've always enjoyed the most.
“I run into previous patients and families in the community, and they are always hugely gracious about the care that we've given them.
“It's satisfying to know that you've impacted these people, you've benefited them and looked after them.”