Janette Webster MACN, After Hours Hospital Manager and Nurse Bank and Pool Coordinator at GV Health in Victoria, talks to the Australian College of Nursing about how she was “always meant to be a nurse”.
“I never wanted to be anything else,” Janette says simply. “My mum was a state enrolled nurse and so I spent a lot of time in hospitals as she was a single mum. Sometimes, after she finished work, she would take me around to meet everyone. I remember there was a couple who I’d often meet who sent me lollies for years,” she reminisces fondly.
“With all those experiences at an early age, I don’t think I even thought of doing anything else.”
Although Janette has spent most of her career working in the Emergency Department in a variety of roles, she is particularly passionate about what she does in her current capacity. “It’s been deeply satisfying to nurture, encourage and be positively involved in nurses’ life at work during these anxious times – it’s what I do best and it’s been a privilege to get to see nurses what they do best.”
And the year of 2020 has been particularly significant in showing the entire world what nurses are made of, Janette adds. “Despite everything we’ve had thrown at us, this is our time to shine. This year has provided us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show why we do what we do.”
“Nurses love a challenge and have the ability to adapt at a rapid rate. Our team has certainly done so!”
From an after-hours hospital manager’s perspective, Janette says it’s challenging to be expected to have all the answers because “we are here two shifts a day for which we don’t have an executive around”. But Janette is proud of the manner in which her team has handled the pressure. “We’re pretty resourceful as a group and we try to make sure that people feel supported in every way.”
As far as managing the nurse bank and pool, Janette says, “We’ve been tirelessly working to employ staff because we don’t know if and when we’ll have a surge. I’ve been looking at strategies to see how we can support new staff in this environment.”
But it must be business as usual. And we must continue to celebrate the Year of the Nurse & Midwife. Janette will be observing the International Nurses Day in quite a different way. “I have borrowed a book from the library on the history of nursing so I’m going to read that between now and then better educate myself on the nursing profession so far in Australia. I always send an email to our colleagues, reach out on social media to thank people that I work with or have worked with in the past.”
Janette adds, “For all those people in health care who are looking after patients directly, I want to convey my sincere thanks to all of you – including cleaners, orderlies, doctors, allied health workers. Whatever they are doing, I hope they are looking after themselves too and reaching out to others in times of need.”