Celebrating Emergency Week: Nursing offers Angie a world of opportunities
The decision to pursue a career in nursing has taken Angie Jackson all around the world however she always finds herself back in the emergency department.
A nurse practitioner in emergency at the Cairns Hospital, Ms Jackson started her nursing career at the Royal Perth Hospital in 1991.
“I always thought it [nursing] would be a great job to travel with, you would always be employed, and I enjoyed working with people.”
Travel has certainly featured in Ms Jackson’s career having been on the frontline of some of the biggest disasters to ravage the Asia-Pacific region during the past two decades.
She has assisted with disaster response as part of AUSMAT (Australian Medical Assistance Teams) – one of the few World Health Organization (WHO) globally-verified Emergency Medical Teams – including being deployed last year to Papua New Guinea to assist in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Jackson has also helped during earthquakes in Indonesia in the mid-2000s, and this year was awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal from the Australian Government for her work in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
It was the fourth time Ms Jackson has earned that recognition previously acknowledged for her work in Nias, Indonesia in 2005, Pakistan (2010), and Christchurch (2011).
In addition to her work with AUSMAT, Ms Jackson is also a Defence Force Reservist and was deployed to Afghanistan last year for four and a half months as an Air Force nurse.
Yet despite her interest in disaster response and humanitarian efforts, Ms Jackson said the emergency department (ED) continually beckons.
Ms Jackson got her start in emergency while working at Royal Perth Hospital and it is where she has stayed for most of her career attributing her longevity in the department to teamwork.
“In the emergency department in particular you need to work as one big team,” she said. “I think for me just being a good team player is the most important thing and being supportive of people around me would be what I’m most proud of.”
While admitting to having “moments” in her career where she has felt burnt out, and ventured to other areas, including retrievals, Ms Jackson said she always comes back to the ED.
“I think it is an extremely rewarding place to work particularly because we are looking after people at their most vulnerable and it’s a great place to learn because you get the whole gamut of conditions and people to look after.
“I like the work because every day is different, and you don’t know what is going to be thrown at you.”
Acknowledging the work emergency nurses do, Ms Jackson said “it is really important, and I think the pandemic has shown we are on the frontlines”.
“It is great work that emergency nurses do. They turn up not knowing what is going to be thrown at them and they are quite resilient.”