It’s the simple things that got Lisa through the COVID-19 outbreak at Regis Brighton; a daily cheese sandwich made by her husband, riddles and a few jokes, and working with an amazing group of people.
This is Lisa, Training Specialist and qualified Registered Nurse at Regis.
I have worked at Regis for four years since September 2016. I came from working as a generalist Registered Nurse in rural hospitals in Queensland and wanted to move back home to the Sunshine Coast to be with my husband. I applied for one job to ‘tide me over’ until I decided what area of nursing I’d like to work in and that position was with Regis as a Registered Nurse. My husband’s job brought him to Victoria, so I followed him in August 2018, taking up the position of Clinical Manager. After nine months, I took on my current role as Training Specialist and have been in this role for 16 months. I absolutely love it!
I love working in a team and motivating colleagues. By focusing on supporting change and making a difference to staff member’s skills and experiences, it can make a positive impact to the care outcomes of our residents. Before COVID-19, I would visit Homes to provide requested targeted training needs as identified by clinical, facility and operation managers.
When the COVID-19 second wave occurred in Victoria, my role changed enormously and I dived into assisting Regis Brighton during their COVID-19 outbreak for six weeks. I became a Registered Nurse on the floor again and worked very closely with our Clinical Support Team (CST). I honed in on my motivational skills, while working with an amazing team of people with one common goal – to get the Home through this most difficult time whilst maintaining good clinical care, quality of life and lifting morale.
Every part of my life changed during the six weeks at Regis Brighton. Apart from the obvious of being required to wear full Personal Protective Equipment, social distancing and my new cologne being soap or hand sanitiser, I made the decision to not hug, kiss or hold hands with my husband whilst working with COVID-19 positive residents. That was pretty tough. I was fearful of bringing this terrible disease home to him and both of us were on tenterhooks waiting for the result via text with every COVID-19 swab. However, I’m thankful for his total love, support and understanding. The little things made a huge difference. Each morning, he made me a cheese sandwich which I ate on my way to work and each night, I would come back to a lovingly home-cooked meal. He would have our washing machine open and ready for my bag containing my clothing worn on shift. These were the simple things that made the biggest difference.
In addition to my husbands support, the support from Regis was incredible. Everyone had the same goal for positive outcomes and we became a family. We created a ‘Wall of Thanks’ with a noticeboard we had at the Home. This gave everyone an opportunity to say thank you for the little things. We utilised a frosted interior window as a ‘what are your super powers?’ activity and temporarily commandeered the Lifestyle PIEC&S board to add a ‘Riddle of the Day’ and jokes to help lift morale. The riddle and jokes were relayed to some of the residents who also enjoyed participating.
Some of the days were not easy, especially when our residents and staff contracted the virus and some of our beloved residents passed away. Our team became a family and were there for each other in these challenging times. Our thoughts are always with their families and loved ones. I’m so proud of the teamwork at Regis. Facilitating and encouraging everyone to have a common goal, which was to keep our wonderful residents safe and well whilst maintaining quality of life in these very trying times.
I had many special moments in the Home with our residents, but one in particular stands out to me. I came across a gentleman who was struggling with being confined to his room. I took the time to get to know him and found out he liked gardening. The next day, I brought in some vegetable plants from my home for him to plant on his balcony with the Lifestyle team. The verbal appreciation he showed me and the smile on his face was just priceless. This simple act of kindness brought him so much joy. Although he was still isolated, his quality of life improved enormously.
I love interacting with people with differing roles and responsibilities, diverse backgrounds and opinions, and seeing the difference that these teams make to residents’ lives. I’m so grateful for the love and support of my family and the very simple life I lead with my husband.