Suzanne Lawes (Suze) acknowledges what an incredibly unique asset Pohlen Hospital is; especially compared to many community facilities around the region. “Pohlen has evolved into a real one-stop-shop” she says, “and thanks to effective management over the years, adequately ensures the whole community’s health and wellbeing is paramount.”

As a registered nurse, general manager of Pohlen Hospital and a wife and mother, you might think Suze would be busy enough – but, as it happens – she was still ready to take on more!

Studying at home in her ‘spare’ time, Suze decided to complete her masters degree in Professional Practice and, as challenging as it has been over recent years, celebrated success with her graduation ceremony this month. The qualification has enabled her to further develop practices within nursing management of Pohlen Hospital that she believes, better support her team in a variety of ways.

Having joined Pohlen Hospital shortly after the opening of the end of life wing, Suze says this facility in particular, has highlighted the compassion, warmth and care her team provide, but also that they need care too. “I have worked with the very young and the very old throughout my career, but nothing has been quite as rewarding as having them all under the same roof, and having the opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives alongside a great team” she says. “I am so proud to now have enhanced my professional ability to assess what it is in our practices that could be improved or modified to better support our nurses and carers in doing the job they love. We take a team approach across the board, and whether that’s focusing on resilience, caring or better building our team, it’s important they feel as supported as our families and patients do.”

In collaboration with Lorraine Jacentho, clinical manager, management has also committed to initiatives such as debrief sessions and advanced care planning training with team members. ”This is particularly important for families needing to make decisions with loved ones and how we, as their final carers, can help with ensuring their needs are met when that time comes” says Suze. “We are always looking at other areas also, such as our sensory garden or environments that offer grounding or personal healing opportunities.”

With tenants from the Medical Centre and dentist to an on-site Pathlab, pharmacy, Medex Radiology and visiting specialists at one end, and maternity, aged care, primary care, respite and palliative care at the other, it is very likely that every family in town is likely to use the Pohlen Hospital facility at some stage. “While working towards my masters, I have gained and enhanced complimentary skills and tools to better care for us all” says Suze.

Caron Stewart.