Health Centre Takes Commonsense Approach
A Prep School boy arrives at the School’s Health Centre with two badly grazed knees. When asked by Clinical Nurse Manager Joanna Simpson how he hurt himself, he says he is not sure. She tells him to look at shoes - both laces, untied.
“It may be an old line but prevention is better than cure,” Mrs Simpson said. “Every encounter is an opportunity to give them a little bit of education to prevent it from happening next time.”
Mrs Simpson is one of four registered nurses, who share a “commonsense approach” to health promotion. Previously at Wesley College, Mrs Simpson joined Christ Church seven years ago where she was pivotal in reorganising the centre’s opening hours and establishing an afterhours on-call system. She is most ably supported by nurses Jenny Giudice, Linda Silberstein and Michelle Tuckett, who have joined the centre over the past four to five years. All four nurses are mothers of past, current or future CCGS boys and have almost 100 years’ nursing experience between them in pediatric and emergency settings.
Mrs Simpson said a fridge magnet she had kept since working in the trauma unit at a Northern Ireland hospital summed up the centre’s philosophy. It reads, “T E A M - Together Everyone Achieves More”. “It doesn’t matter which one of us the boys get when they come in - they all get that same approach.”
Mrs Simpson, who is also a registered mental health nurse, said the centre’s role was to support parents with ongoing care. “We are mothers primarily and we are really here to support what parents are already doing at home.” This support extends to families of boys with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, anaphylaxis and asthma. “These illnesses travel to school with them so parents need to feel they have that constant support and care for their son.”
The centre also plays a key role in the health and pastoral care of boarders. This includes organising all health-related appointments in liaison with parents. “Many of the boarders pop in and out. I think for some of them, we are a bit like the kitchen at home – a happy, homely place where we laugh a lot.”
As well as annual CPR courses, staff also complete mental health training, ongoing training in chronic illnesses and sports medicine courses run by Sports Medicine Australia. They also attend off campus sporting events including the House Athletics and Swimming carnivals as well Prep School sport on Thursday afternoons. Mrs Simpson said staff often dealt with sporting injuries and tried to educate boys on their prevention and treatment. “We also try to educate them on their resilience,” she said. “Not on how they take it but focusing on how they recover through self management.”
Mrs Simpson and her team continue to educate boys and the Christ Church community on health matters through one-on-one, individualised care as well as vehicles such as the Education Board (located in the Health Centre) and the School’s weekly e-Newsletter which links into current community health issues. “We hope that the information and knowledge we impart to the boys will be drawn on in years to come.”
The Health Centre will be launching a new fortnightly ‘Healthy Bites’ section in the weekly e-Newsletter offering tips and advice on everything from healthy eating and exercise to sleep and caring for your body. Look out for ‘Healthy Bites’ in the coming weeks…