When Director of Nursing, Kila Lua, realised students were coming and going from the Corporate One building that also houses Panch Day Surgery Centre, she decided to investigate. The result would be a partnership with far-reaching benefits.
Ms Lua soon discovered the students were enrolled with healthcare education provider, All Health Training. As a registered training organisation, All Health Training offers a range of nationally recognised training courses including aged care, disability and pathology collection.
But it was a health services assistance course that caught Ms Lua’s attention.
‘Having students undertake their placement with us at Panch seemed like a natural fit.’
‘Healthcare assistants (HCAs) support other healthcare professions, including nurses,’ says Ms Lua. ‘We understand how important HCAs are in the day-to-day operations of hospitals and day surgeries. This is especially true in post-pandemic era, as the healthcare system deals with ongoing workforce shortages.’
HCAs provide broad support to allow nurses more time to focus on clinical tasks, says Ms Lua. ‘They might assist with moving patients around the facility, making sure patients are comfortable, transporting gas tanks, stock management, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and making beds.’
After learning the students must complete an 80-hour industry placement as part of the course syllabus, Ms Lua saw an opportunity.
‘Having students undertake their placement with us at Panch seemed like a natural fit,’ she says. Vision Hospital Group, which operates Panch and other day surgeries around Australia, and All Health Training agreed with her idea.
Panch has now hosted its first HCA student. ‘Mentoring these students is a great way to give back to the local community and profession, while the extra set of hands really takes pressure off our nurses.’
The Panch team with our first All Health Initiative student. (L–R) Bonife Nagal, Tahlia Dakin, Sandra Hollis, Somporn Wongjampa (All Health Initiative student), Constance Chitambo, Karen Heather and Loverne Verano.
‘Importantly, we teach the students that patient care is more than just clinical care. Many of our patients are elderly and may be anxious about their procedure. My team is always conscious of taking time to have a friendly chat and put them at ease. It’s wonderful seeing our students do the same. The patients love it.’
In June, Ms Lua spoke about the value of healthcare assistants in an ophthalmic setting at the 2023 Australian Ophthalmic Nurses’ Association Conference. ‘The feedback was very positive, and we are looking to roll this across other Vision Hospital Group day surgeries.’
‘Importantly, we teach the students that patient care is more than just clinical care.’
The student perspective: Somporn Wongjampa
Originally from Thailand, Ms Wongjampa moved to Australia to discover a new culture and new opportunities. Despite enjoying several stints in the food and hospitality industry, she felt something was still missing.
‘I wanted to help people and have a positive impact on their life, as well as make a real difference in the community,’ Ms Wongjampa says.
‘The healthcare industry appealed to me because it also offers good career prospects, career flexibility and opportunities to keep learning. Working as a health care assistant will be my first step in this industry, using the learning and knowledge I have gained during my course.’
Ms Wongjampa was the first All Health Training student at Panch Day Surgery Centre, a busy two-theatre facility dedicated to specialist eye procedures. ‘I was impressed by the technology, equipment and high-quality standards,’ she says.
‘The staff believe in exceeding patients’ expectations.’
‘At the same time, they encourage a positive work culture where employee wellbeing and support are priorities. It didn’t matter that I was inexperienced or came from a different cultural background. Everyone made me feel so welcome. ‘