Wendy Young named Rural/Remote Emergency Nurse Educator of the Year
Remote education has its challenges, but for Kimberley Regional Nurse Educator Wendy Young, “people in the Kimberley have a great can-do attitude and overcome most problems by being creative and innovative”.
Named the 2021 Australian & New Zealand College of Emergency Nursing (ANZCEN) Rural/Remote Emergency Nurse Educator of the Year, Miss Young said challenges include staffing shortages and minimal IT support but “we work around these by forward planning as much as possible and by choosing the right attitude”.
Miss Young, who is currently on long service leave, became an educator in 2017 while working in the Derby emergency department in far north-west Western Australia. For the past two years she was an educator in the Broome ED before stepping up to the Kimberley Regional Nurse Educator role in December.
She said she became an educator after becoming “saddened to see so many nurses leave the profession feeling unsupported and disempowered”.
“I went into education to try and change the general culture in the workplace both towards education and towards nursing itself,” she said. “I strive to provide a safe and compassionate learning environment so that nurses are not too intimidated to perform their best.
“I do this in the hope that nurses walk away feeling empowered and more importantly able to pay it forward and teach and support others.”
And it is a rewarding role.
“I love seeing those that I have taught perform well and walk away feeling like they have achieved something. I have had so many proud moments watching colleagues do brilliantly during resuscitations.”
In receiving the award, Ms Young said it was an honour “even to be considered”.
“I have worked alongside and learnt from so many incredible nurses. I would not have achieved this without their support and encouragement over the years.”
Miss Young has educated many nurses and other health workers in the Kimberley region with her award nomination acknowledging “the amazing work that she has done here with our staff to ensure appropriate care has been delivered for our mostly Indigenous communities”.
Education is held face-to-face, where possible, while Miss Young has also run concurrent skills days and courses at multiple sites simultaneously.
COVID also posed an additional challenge with Miss Young working with Perth and Broome Emergency doctors to develop flow charts to manage suspected COVID patients that needed CPR and Advanced Life Support.
“I distributed these to the teams in the Kimberley region via email and spent a bit of time on the phone with site educators talking through these flow charts.”
Miss Young did her graduate year at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne working predominantly in the burns and trauma unit. After three years there, she was encouraged to take on Clinical Nurse Specialist and Associate Nurse Unit Manager roles but felt “I needed a broader skill set before I stepped up to these roles”.
“I had always wanted to work rural or remote so applied for, and was offered, a position in Derby ED.”
Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek run an ambulance service off the emergency department where the orderlies drive and assist the Registered Nurse on ambulance call outs.
“This was a huge but wonderful learning curve for me. I became really passionate about ensuring my colleagues knew how to use the ambulance equipment and had the knowledge they needed to attend a range of ambulance calls confidently.”
She also encouraged others to consider working in remote areas, “I have seen and done things I would have never seen in a large metropolitan hospital”.