International Nurses Day - Gillian and Andrea

12/May/2021     Health

In 2021, the theme for International Nurses Day is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead - A vision for future healthcare’ where we celebrate the important work done by nurses in education, innovation and influencing policy development.

Meet nursing team Gillian Caplan who is mentoring Andrea Godbold in the Cardiac Care Ward of the Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit, the two discuss the importance of hands on learning in such a complex nursing environment.

Registered Nurse Gillian has been nursing for six years starting in the Mater Private Hospital back in 2015 and said she can’t pinpoint exactly what sparked her interest in nursing.

“My mother is a midwife and I think that sparked a sense of curiosity and interested in nursing. I always knew I wanted to a job that was needed and something that helped other people. I wanted to be a part of family’s stories and journey, whatever that was. I felt as though I could bring something special to the world,” Gillian said.

“Working in the NCCU was always a dream, I knew I wanted to work with either paediatrics or neonates. I was attracted to the NCCU cardiac surgical as there isn’t anything like it in Brisbane. The acuity of the neonates in the nursery was also an attraction. I loved that the cardiac surgical unit you were able to care for neonates with lots of different conditions and the Nurse Unit Manager Lisa Clark is a wonderful leader, so I just had a good feeling about the unit. 

“I love everything about my job, I love that I get to spend some of the busiest days and hardest days of my career caring for the smallest or biggest little people in the world. I love meeting families and having an impact in their lives. I also get to spend each shift with some of the best nurses I have worked with, it is such a wonderful team and you are very well supported and encouraged.”

Gillian explains she has been mentoring Andrea for about a month which as been a great experience as she enjoys sharing her knowledge with upcoming nursing team members.

“I have been lucky enough to mentor some nursing students, who have been employed by The Mater. Previously I have mentored nursing students, but this is my first time mentoring a new starter,” Gillian said.

“I enjoy sharing my knowledge and skills with others. I love the challenge, because they may have experienced something different previously at other hospitals and that can facilitate some expansion on my skills and knowledge. I enjoy supporting someone, as someone who has experience mentoring firsthand when I transitioned to the NCCU cardiac surgical I feel like it is something I can give back to the unit.

“Mentoring junior nurses is very important, as it can provide the junior nurse with the sense of security. Because they are able to learn in a safe and positive environment, whilst being challenged.

“I have been mentored throughout my transition to the NCCU. It has been a wonderful experience and I still rely on these nurses each day for trouble shooting and sometimes just a reminder that you have support. Being a nurse is the best profession. I love my job and I love being a nurse, especially at Mater Mothers Hospital.”

Andrea has been nursing for four years working as a paediatric nurse moving between emergency and intensive care nursing.

“I recently moved to neonatal intensive care nursing. I became interested in nursing through my mum as well as she is also a nurse and a very kind and caring person. I also worked as a swimming teacher for children and this made me want to work, care and understand children more,” Andrea said.

“I love working in a team environment in the NCCU. Sometimes ICU nursing can be quite hard emotionally and physically, so I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who are like minded and have the same end goal of delivering the best possible cafe for our patients and families.

“I’m finding it has been great so far, everyone has been so welcoming and friendly and I’m really looking forward to learning more about cardiac surgical neonatal nursing. I love working with families! Being able to help families hold their babies for the first time.”

Andrea has found being mentored to be extremely valuable in supporting her knowledge and confidence while working on the ward.

“I’m really enjoying being mentored by Gillian, it’s great to be able to look up to someone who has lots of experience,” Andrea said.

“ I think it’s so important to be mentored and learn from someone rather than a textbook or classroom because not one neonate is the same. Each family is different and unique in their own way.

“Learning from my mentor helps me confirm my “textbook or classroom” knowledge and allows my mentor to support me in what can sometimes be some challenging times.”  

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