To recognise the vital role nurses play in transforming our country’s health and aged care systems the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) and the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health are collaborating to present the inaugural Health Minister’s Award for Nursing Trailblazers. We are proud to administer this prestigious award to raise the profile of nursing and acknowledge the extraordinary impact nurses have on the health and well-being of our community.
Following an incredibly competitive selection process the inaugural Health Minister’s Award for Nursing Trailblazers Finalists were announced last week. This is the first of a four part NurseClick series about each Trailblazer Finalist. We hope you enjoy getting to know the Finalists and reading about their inspirational stories. Today we are excited to share an interview with the extraordinary Trailblazer Finalist Linda Campbell MACN, who is being recognised for her work leading a blood management program for primary joint replacement patients in rural and remote areas.
1: What inspired you to become a nurse?
When I was a young teenager my older sister was unexpectedly hospitalised and it seemed really dramatic at the time. She told me how fantastic the nurses were and I could tell that they were making a difference to her, especially her recovery. I recall thinking that it was amazing that one person could make such a difference to many people’s well-being (hers and mine) and thought that maybe I could do that.
2: What motivated you to pursue your particular nursing specialty?
I have a background in Post Anaesthesia Care and Transfusion Medicine and understand that although blood transfusion can be lifesaving it is not without risk. Blood is also a precious resource that needs to be utilised appropriately. I had the opportunity to combine these interests in 2012 when I was recruited to the Patient Blood Management (PBM) position at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) in Perth. The PBM team has been successfully translating evidence into practice ever since.
3: Tell us about the project you are being recognised for as a Trailblazer Finalist.
PBM is a proactive approach to medicine that aims to improve blood counts prior to major surgery that involves significant blood loss. By optimising Hb and iron stores pre-op, patients have the capacity to recover their own Hb post-op. This not only reduces the chance of blood transfusion, it improves recovery following surgery and importantly reduces the demand on donor blood. Joint replacement transfusion rates used to be around 25% before PBM started; it’s now uncommon to be transfused for this type of surgery.
4: What has been the most rewarding part of your involvement in the PBM?
SCGH is a referral centre for the State and WA is huge! It’s important to me that our patients receive equitable care regardless of where they live. Creating networks with outer metro/rural health care organisations and GPs has provided the key to this. I find it very satisfying when the GP pre-empts PBM for the ‘next’ major surgery patient or a NP from a rural area phones me for anaemia management advice. It confirms that providing education does pay off. Audit results demonstrated PBM assessment rates of 99% and 100% for elective joint replacements; it shows that our care and expertise is accessible, even if you live thousands of kilometres from Perth.
5: What does the future hold for the PBM?
Over the past few years we have been collecting data regarding transfusion rates and length of stay and it’s now time to see how PBM is affecting specific patient groups. As the State’s referral centre for Sarcoma, we are particularly interested in reporting on the effect of PBM in this cohort of patients. I am currently collaborating on this project with the Sarcoma CNC, Orthopaedic waitlist nurse and SCGH research staff, with the aim of publication.