Bass Coast Health (BCH) offers Nurses many career pathways across a wide variety of services.
As the sub-regional health service for Bass Coast and South Gippsland, BCH operates the new Wonthaggi Hospital, Phillip Island Health Hub and a San Remo site.
The size of the health service and the large geographic area it services gives Nurses many exciting opportunities to learn and grow, as shown by the pathways followed by Nurse Unit Managers (NUMs) Stephanie Dunn, Rebecca Gysberts, Cat Bunn and Kerry Evans.
Stephanie has recently fulfilled the role as our Perioperative Services NUM. She organises the Theatre schedule at Wonthaggi Hospital and oversees four departments of approximately 60 staff: Perioperative Department, Central Sterile Supply Department, Pre-Admission Clinic and Elective Surgery Access Unit.
“I have to juggle a lot and there is a lot of prioritising, and I always go back to my core value of providing patient-centred care and a safe environment for everyone,” she said.
Stephanie worked as Endorsed Enrolled Nurse in Queensland before joining the Community Health Service to complete her Registered Nurse training while working as a District Nurse.
“I did my Graduate Year at Bass Coast Health in 2017, then my Transition Year. I then completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Anaesthetic Specialisation to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist,” she said.
“I then took on the anaesthetic portfolio in Theatre, liaising with the Anaesthetists and then became an Associate Nurse Unit Manager. During the commissioning of the new Wonthaggi Hospital, I became a Subject Matter Expert and then stepped up to the NUM role.”
Stephanie said BCH can provide Nursing staff a career in Perioperative Services.
“There are so many gateways and you can be where I am in five years if that’s what you want. I’ve worked in a multitude of departments to get here: haematology, oncology, orthopaedic surgery, palliative care, aged care, and medical and surgical. I’ve been nursing for 19 years,” she said.
Rebecca Gysberts is our Nurse Unit Manager District Nursing and Palliative Care, a service that cares for patients in their homes.
Her Graduation Year entailed two rotations: District Nursing and Kirrak House from February 2017 to February 2018. In 2018 she took part in our Transitional Care Program, working in District Nursing and Armitage House, our Sub-Acute service, before gaining ongoing work with our District Nursing program.
“Since then, I have worked on the road visiting clients, as a Nursing Intake Coordinator, and more recently as the District Nursing and Palliative Care Nurse Unit Manager,” Rebecca said.
“In November 2022 I was successful in becoming permanent Nurse Unit Manager of the District Nursing and Palliative Care Service, managing and supporting all clinical and non-clinical staff.
“To be in this position at this stage in my life has been possible because of the support and guidance along the way from Bass Coast Health; this is something I am very thankful for.”
Catherine Bunn is the Nurse Unit Manager of our Emergency Department, “leading and supporting our incredible emergency team through the good and the challenging times”.
She worked with us while a student nurse before completing her Graduate Year with us in 2014, working in the ED, Theatre and Medical Ward.
“After my graduate year I chose to specialise in Emergency. After a few years I was supported to complete my post graduate certificate in Emergency. Following this I moved to Alice Springs and worked in the Emergency Department there and progressed up to a Clinical Nurse Specialist and I worked there for a few years,” she said.
“I made the decision to move back home and obtained a role in the Wonthaggi ED as Associate Nurse Unit Manager.
"BCH has allowed me to progress my career with amazing opportunities in the areas that I am passionate about, whilst supporting me to develop myself further. Most recently I have successfully completed my Masters of Advanced Nursing with the support of the organisation which was instrumental in my success whilst doing my role. My Masters included specialising in Emergency, Leadership and Management areas.
“BCH is a great place to progress your career because there is a lot of exposure and learning opportunities.”
Kerry Evans is our Nurse Unit Manager of Kirrak House who began at BCH in 2011 as a Graduate Registered Nurse from Melbourne after starting as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse. She has also served as Acting Operations Director, overseeing our residential care centres of Kirrak and also Griffiths Point Lodge at San Remo.
She has worked in a variety of nursing roles in the hospital and in the community, gaining the skills to serve as Acting Relief Nurse Unit Manager in many departments.
“There are so many roles that you can do at Bass Coast Health and I’m an example of that,” she said.
“I found my love in aged care because of the compassion and closeness you get to acquire with the long-term residents. You build rapport with the residents and their families, and I see that in the staff. The trust the families have in the staff is just amazing.”
Kerry believes BCH feels like an extended family and that’s why she stayed after only expecting to be with us for 12 months.
“The work-life balance is also optimal here. After a tough day, a walk on the beach solves the world’s problems,” she said.
“You have time to re-ground yourself after your shift and you come back refreshed.”
Bass Coast Health is extremely proud of the passionate nursing leaders it has and is especially proud that these four nursing leaders, all expert in their areas, have been able to stay in their local community and grow their nursing careers.
According to Jan Child, BCH CEO, there is something enormously wonderful about being able to support locals to progress their careers at BCH.
“The NUMs above are terrific local community members, and they are also terrific role models and leaders,” she said.
“It has taken an enormous amount of work for each of these leaders to develop the skills and expertise to take on these very important roles. We are so proud to have such high calibre nursing leaders running our services, and we have an ongoing commitment to grow our own clinicians and leaders so that we can continue to provide the excellent care that these nurses do.”