NURSING SISTERS HELP
SISTERS UNITE TO TACKLE COVID
The call for volunteer nurses to assist at Goulburn Valley Health during Shepparton’s COVID-19 outbreak saw sisters Robyn Thomson and Wendy Johnstone working in the same hospital.
Originally from Shepparton, Ms Thomson travelled from Melbourne to work in the emergency department of GV Health for a month while the region sought to control COVID-19 cases.
She’s one of many in the ‘surge workforce’ that volunteered.
“Being my hometown, I put my hand up and said I’d be happy to come up and help,” Ms Thomson said.
It’s the first time Ms Thomson and her sister, an after-hours manager at GV Health, have worked in the same hospital.
“It’s been great, I think the first day that we went to work, I came out of the triage room, and Wendy had knocked off,” she said.
“And I thought ‘what are you doing here?’, because it was just weird.”
Ms Johnstone said while the pair didn’t work together, it had been nice to run into each other as they changed shifts.
“When she (Robyn) was at uni I did some clinical educating and she was actually one of my students for three months,” she said.
“We bump into each other in the car park on the way in and on the way out.”
While both sisters said the coronavirus outbreak had its challenges, Ms Johnstone said the extra help from the surge workforce helped things continue to run smoothly.
“The emergency department has been absolutely so grateful, and so heartened by their (the volunteers’) help,” she said.
“Hopefully we don’t need them for too long because we crushed the outbreak.”
Throughout her time at GV Health, Ms Thomson said the emergency department had been busy with patients.
“COVID just adds that extra level of stress,” she said.
“The sickest will always get seen first, but having COVID patients on top of your regular emergencies, it just adds to the numbers and those people that are sick.”
Ms Thomson said she was grateful for the opportunity to come and help her home.
“I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special,” she said.
“It’s been a great experience and I’m impressed with the hospital and the way they’ve dealt with it all.”