We recently interviewed Theatre Nurse Marianne about her experience working with Healthcare Australia (HCA), the challenges she’s faced and what she enjoys most about agency nursing.
Marianne also talks about her new venture, an app called ‘ScrubUp’ which helps theatre nurses prepare for different types of surgery and is particularly helpful as an agency nurse.
HCA: What is your nursing specialty?
Marianne: I’m a Theatre Nurse who has been with ASEPS (HCA’s Theatre Nursing division) since 2000.
HCA: How did you start your nursing career?
Marianne: I have always found joy out of helping people and my dream job was to be a nurse. I started my career at Royal Prince Alfred Public Hospital in Sydney as an Enrolled nurse, this is where I learnt a lot about the basics of nursing.
I decided I wanted to advance my skills, so I went to University and received my degree to become a Registered Nurse with a specialty in Theatre Nursing. While working in theatres, I met a fellow nurse who was working for HCA and she told me about the amazing lifestyle and flexibility of agency nursing. I knew this was something I wanted to do, so for 12-18 months, I worked on the casual pool with HCA.
I then got an opportunity to work in New Zealand (NZ) at the Martin Borough Hospital in the North Island at HCA for a 6-week contract. I received accommodation with two other nice agency nurses and rented a car to explore NZ on my time off. It was an amazing experience and the rest was history!
HCA: Has HCA or the ASEPS division changed since you started?
Marianne: The people in the office are still the same, which is great because they are friendly and approachable. Agency nursing shifts can be busy and slow at times, which is expected in an agency nurse environment.
The principals that an agency nurse should have remain the same, such as being flexible, available and prepared for travel. I have worked all over Sydney including St Vincent’s, Sydney Adventist, Ashfield Private, St George, Campbelltown and Canterbury Public.
HCA: What is the difference between Private and Public sector nursing in your opinion?
Marianne: I have worked as an educator in the Public sector and I felt very supported by the team. It’s a very fast paced environment, especially as a Theatre Nurse. The Private Sector is still full on, but you don’t get the opportunity to do all types of surgery, such as Cardiac and Obstetrics.
If you work in private or public sectors, it’s always important to be upfront with the staff and ask questions. Identify where the equipment is and orientate yourself with the hospital.
HCA: Who do you take care of? Tell us a little bit about your patients and the kinds of activities you are involved in?
Marianne: I have worked in Theatre Trauma in the Public Sector where there is all kind of unexpected patients and surgeries. I’m currently working in the private sector and come across different types of patients and work many types of surgeons. There is a whiteboard at the hospital with the surgeries listed for the day, so I can prepare myself for what is to come. I always introduce myself to the doctor, so they feel comfortable and ask the right questions before surgery.
What advice would you give to other agency nurses?
There is as much work as you want and as little as you want. Remember to be flexible and willing to travel. Don’t underestimate your value and always come prepared with a positive attitude to the day.
HCA: How did you come up with the ScrubUp App and how does it help fellow agency nurses?
My ideas started to compile as I was working through my career and it became difficult to remember the procedures for different types of surgeries. Most surgeons don’t know what level of experience an agency nurse will have, so they may expect a higher level of experience which could lead to miscommunication and frustration between the surgeon and nurse.
The Scrub App provides Theatre nurses with preloaded information to guide surgical nurses and scrub technicians (technologists) of all levels to confidently prepare the operating room with all the necessary intra-operative details.
The app helps nurses feel more confident and competent when preparing for surgery, and track procedures they are involved in. There are also surgeon profiles on the app, so you learn more about the surgeon you will be working with. You can save preferred information into the app such as surgical or surgeons preferences, photos of surgical equipment, add important notes, download and customise procedures according to surgical specialties.
To get the app, it costs $1.49 for a monthly subscription for one specialty. Or you can download it on an annual plan. It’s already been downloaded and used in over 142 countries. Find out more here.