Emergency department nurses celebrate 60 years

Anthea Brumerskyj and Wendy Fetchet love working at the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.

Anthea Brumerskyj and Wendy Fetchet love working at the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.

WHEN you face an emergency situation and need to go hospital it’s nice to be in safe and caring hands.

Two local nurses have been there when we have needed them the most for almost 60 years.

Nurse unit manager Wendy Fetchet and her fellow emergency department nurse Anthea Brumerskyj are set to clock up an impressive six decades of serving the Shoalhaven community this year.

Over the years the two nurses have helped hundreds of people who have arrived at the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital in desperate need of help.

They can’t possibly count the number of people they have helped over the years.

"We have a great reputation and doctors who travel interstate or overseas give us the highest of praises" - Wendy Fetchet

“It’s different every day and you get a real cross section life as patients because there is only one emergency department from Wollongong down to Milton so everyone comes through here,” Anthea said.

“You get everything thing from little coughs and colds and you get to meet the whole community.”

Anthea is a well known face around town.

“You go down the street and people say ‘you looked after my daughter or I remember when you looked after my dad’,” she said.

She does enjoy catching up with her former patients but sometimes the meeting is sad because there was past trauma or drama.

Wendy also loves bumping into former patients, including people who came in with their children who now come in with their grandchildren.

“Neither of us can go very far without seeing people we know and we are also both very community minded and I think that is what has kept us here,” Wendy said.

“You go down the street and people say ‘you looked after my daughter or I remember when you looked after my dad’” - Anthea Brumerskyj

Anthea is getting ready to mark her 30th year and started in 1986 and had worked in several Sydney hospitals before making the move to the Shoalhaven.

She started as a casual but after two weeks became a permanent staff member.

Anthea loves the flexibility and good work environment offered by the ED department.

“It (the ED department) has a good boss and I give Wendy credit because she has been my boss for most of those years,” Anthea said.

“Also it’s the fact that people will pitch in and work together and also it’s an interesting place to work in.”

She knows her fellow ED staff members are always available if she needs to talk through things .

“I love it and a lot of people work in jobs they are not really happy in but I have not really been tempted to look for another job,” Anthea said.

Wendy had previously worked in Sydney and had worked in America as well and is going on 29 years in the Shoalhaven hospital.

“I love working here,” she said.

She has been manager for 26 of those 29 years.

“I love building the team and I love the fact we have been able to grow this department together,” Wendy said.

“Anthea and I are the longest two employees still here and so we have a special bond.

“It’s a department that has a high recruitment and retention rate because we look after our team - there is a strong team network here.”

Many people don’t like having to wait in the ED section but to be in the hands of these caring angels is well worth the wait.

“I don't think the public realises how cohesive the team is here,” Wendy said.

“We have a great reputation and doctors who travel interstate or overseas give us the highest of praises,” Wendy said.

“I think it’s important the community understands we are working with limited resources and a small space for the number of patients we are seeing.”

Wendy added with the Shoalhaven being an increasing popular place to live in means the number of people heading to the ED is increasing.

There is also an increasing aged section of the community to look after.

“We are very proud of the aged care delivery we give and we make sure we keep elderly patients in when they need to stay in hospital,” Wendy said.

Wendy said working in the ED was an incredible challenging role.

‘It’s a challenging role for clinical nurses and my job is to support and advocate for them and continue to try and make their working conditions better so they are delivering the best care for patients,” she said.

The nurse unit manager would like to see others follow in her footsteps.

“I am an absolute advocator of nursing as a career and I think it’s a brilliant career,” Wendy said.

“You are never bored you are never stationary, sitting in the same place doing the same thing over and over again

“Nursing is a good for people who love working with people and who like to be busy because there are always opportunities to fill your day.

“It’s rewarding and you have a sense of purpose in everything you do.”

All local nurses are known to go above the call of duty and do the extra little things like making sure a pet at home is looked after, giving a patient a cup of tea or making sure someone has something to eat makes the all the difference to someone in need.

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