TDHS Year of the Nurse Higher Skills and Training

Higher skills and training all part of nursing culture

Taking responsibility for specific accreditation portfolios is part of the culture for Associate Nurse Unit Managers (ANUMs) at Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS).

The team works in a heavily regulated industry and works together to not only meet the ongoing accreditation standards but drive professional development in the process.

Heather Power is one such example where a defined higher skill set drives standards and helps TDHS collectively meet its accreditation requirements.

She has been the infection control nurse at Timboon for 23 years and with her retirement planned for early next year succession planning is underway with colleague Sam Spokes.

“I came from a small bush nursing hospital in Gisborne more than 20 years ago and it was around that time that this accreditation model was coming in. I did a five-day course in Melbourne and took on the infection control role there,” Heather said.

“When I arrived in Timboon, Amanda Nash was the infection control nurse and after a couple of years she went into the community health nurse role and I picked up the infection control role here.”

Heather said she had completed additional training through the years and enjoyed the role, which included being a member of the Patient Safety and Quality Committee.

“Accreditation is something that we are constantly working on – we have to show that we are continually auditing and improving what we do,” she said.

“If we get a patient with an infectious illness such as gastro, as a team of nurses we all need to know what to do and what precautions to take to isolate the patient and keep other patients, residents and staff safe. That procedure is an example of what my role entails.”

Accreditation portfolios managed by TDHS ANUMs at present include;

  • Infection control – Heather Power
  • Communicating for Safer Care – Vickie Stevens, Michelle Selten and Marlie Hanel
  • Deteriorating Patients – Jenny Trigg and Jess Paton
  • Comprehensive Care – Naomi Lewis and Karen Kennett
  • Medication – Margaret Tesselaar and Tricia Klemm
  • Partnering with consumers –  Vickie Stevens

Nursing Unit Manager Michelle Selten said providing training opportunities was another commitment of TDHS and a number of nurses were studying at the moment including;

  • Toni-Anne McLennan – a Community Midwife training as a Maternal and Child Health Nurse
  • Johnelle Kennedy – a District Nurse/Acute Nurse training as a Registered Nurse
  • Rebecca Barling – a Medication Endorsed Enrolled Nurse training as a Registered Nurse
  • Sam Spokes – a Registered Nurse training as an Infectious Control Nurse
  • Linda Robertson – A Registered Nurse and District Nurse training as a Midwife

Linda said she had been nursing for 13 years and midwifery was something she had thought about for quite some time.

“It was always something I wanted to do – it just happened a bit later for me,” she said.

“The only aspect of midwifery we don’t cover here at Timboon is the birth itself. We do the antenatal and the postnatal and our maternal and child health take over and covers from six weeks old right through to school-age.

“I’m looking forward to working with mums in our community, including the postnatal domiciliary care in their home.”


This story in our sixth monthly instalment to help mark 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.  The whole series can be found here

Nurses make up a significant proportion of our workforce and TDHS would not be able to run without their dedication, skill and compassionate care. We are very excited to be celebrating their valuable contributions throughout the year. We hope you join us in recognising and thanking our nurses.    

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