Father/son duo ‘step’ up for patients

Nathan and Jaidyn Cranidge share more than just a surname – they also share a passion for helping others.

The father and son duo from Cleveland work together as wardies at Mater Private Hospital Redland.

Nathan, 46, started in 2001 – only months after the hospital opening – and has loved it from the very beginning.

“I was working as a welder but a friend of mine worked at the hospital and recommended the job. As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to work in a job that helps people, so this was a perfect opportunity for a career change,” Nathan said.

This Saturday, 20 August, is International Day of Medical Transporters or wardies as they are affectionately known at Mater.

Mater has more than 190 wardies working in its hospitals, supporting and assisting with the safe transfer and positioning of patients, setting up operating theatres, maintaining equipment – and reassuring anxious patients.

While the role is busy with Nathan walking an average of 25 000 steps a shift, the satisfaction of helping people makes it all worth it.

“The phone doesn’t stop ringing and I often joke that I’ve never needed a gym membership,” Nathan said.

“I have a lot of job satisfaction. At the end of every day, I go home feeling like I have helped someone, somehow. I really enjoy that.”

While some things have changed a bit since Nathan started 20 years ago, there one thing that’s stayed the same.

“The culture has never changed. There has always been a great culture here and the staff at Mater Private Hospital Redland are more like family,” Nathan said.

“And not just in my department, across the board too—you work with lots of the doctors, nurses, cleaners and admin and I’ve developed friendships throughout the hospital. I reckon I can name every team member here,” Nathan said.

Jaidyn followed in his dads’ footsteps joining the team in 2019.

Nathan says it’s great working alongside Jaidyn.

“I can see a little bit of me in him. He picked it up quickly and he does a really good job. I’m very proud of him,” Nathan said.

When a job vacancy came up Jaidyn jumped at the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I obviously saw dad very happy with his career choice and I always loved when he would take me with him to the hospital when I was younger,” Jaidyn said.

“I’m loving it! The work is really satisfying and rewarding. I started a week after my first baby was born so it’s been great working with dad, there’s not much he doesn’t know after 20 years, but also as I have navigated my first few years of fatherhood. I couldn’t t ask for a better role model.

“It’s been a busy two and a half years but a great two and a half years.”

Jaidyn believes it’s about the people he meets that make each day special. 

“Working in the surgical ward, we often see reoccurring patients, so it’s always nice when they remember you and you can be a familiar face for them,” Jaidyn said.

“I also love when you take expectant mothers from the maternity ward into theatres before a caesarean and they’re quite nervous and then when you’re bringing them back up to the ward with their new baby - it’s a very joyous moment.

While there may not be an ordinary day for a wardie, it’s fair to say being a wardie is anything but ordinary.

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