What makes your local Anaesthetic / Recovery Unit special?

We spoke to Anna Nusco, an Anaesthetic Nurse Unit Manager in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH), Sydney, to get an understanding of her role and her workplace.

Describe the type of service you provide in your Anaesthetic/ Recovery room.

The Anaesthetic Assistant service at RPAH encompasses two theatre complexes which consist of 25 operating theatres covering multiple surgical specialties incorporating cardiothoracic, neurosurgery, transplant, trauma and Obstetrics. The complex also includes an MRI suite, hybrid and robotic theatre.  Anaesthetic support is also supplied to satellite locations such as Radiology, Cardiac Cath Lab and Endoscopy.

How is your unit set up?

The set up for each area is variable depending on the anaesthetising location.   In the main theatre complex each theatre has an anaesthetic bay.  There are also two main storage areas and an Education Office.

Introduce us to your team.

The Anaesthetic Assistant Service comprises of RN’s, EN’s and Technicians.  RPAH runs a 24 hour service; however the majority of surgery is performed Monday through Friday.  Shift staffing numbers are dependent on the number of theatre sessions running.  There is also an on call component to the role in order to cover general, radiology, cardiothoracic and liver transplant services.

What are the daily clinical or managerial challenges you cope with in your unit?

The cases are varied and patients can be extremely acute.  Being a trauma hospital RPAH often manages critically ill patients.  The Anaesthetic Assistants need to be able to think quickly, troubleshoot, and perform under pressured conditions.

What part of your working day do you find the most rewarding?

Providing patients with the best possible care in a team work environment.
Working in a teaching hospital and having access to information and a vast number of services/equipment.
Working in a field where you have the opportunity to learn something new each day.

How do you orientate learners to your unit and what provision do you have for ongoing education?

New staff undertake facility and hospital orientation.  On arrival to the unit they are provided with an orientation manual and given a preceptor.  The unit has regular education and staff  members also participate in simulation scenarios with the Anaesthetic Department. Staff are encouraged to seek out and attend relevant courses.

What was the last audit/ research your unit took part in, and what were the outcomes?

The Anaesthetic Assistant Service has reviewed the Blood Cold Chain register for operating theatres.  Recommendations for improved processes are in progress.

Thanks Anna!

For more information on working in Australia, and to apply for roles in Sydney, visit www.icejobs.ie/ice-nurse

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