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Seeing a familiar world through patient eyes

Tracey Burke CNM

Photo: Tracey Burke (right) with ACNM Leanne Browne who held the fort while Tracey was away.

Six weeks ago, Tracey Burke had a riding accident which resulted in her suddenly changing roles from a busy charge nurse/midwife manager in Women’s Health at Waikato Hospital, to a patient moving through many areas of care.

Her journey started with the Ambulance service and Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and involved a range of hospital services including Emergency Department, Theatre, the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit, Ward M6, Fracture Clinic, X-Ray, Day of Surgery Admission, and is now ending in the outpatient services.

This journey is not unusual and there will be many other patients on this same continuum at the moment.

“What is unusual,” Burke says, “is that I was experiencing many of our services from the other side of the bed. As a patient, I saw our Waikato DHB values really come to life.”

She says she received not only the best professional care but unfailing kindness, empathy and genuine caring from staff in all sorts of roles – nurses, healthcare assistants, attendants, kitchen staff, cleaners, doctors, consultants, charge nurses, duty nurse managers, allied health staff and receptionists.

“Many of these people would have been unaware that I worked here so my care was no different because of that.”

“I’ve learned it is the little things, the going the extra mile, that makes an enormous difference to the physical and mental comfort of patients. I am inspired by the many wonderful staff that come to work every day to make others more able to cope with difficult and painful situations,” Burke says.

“I feel immensely proud to be part of an organisation that embodies the patient and their family at the centre of the care, and one that looks after its workers in a way that encourages recovery.”

Tracey Burke received her Staff Service Recognition certificate for 15 years’ service while on sick leave. Next week she starts work again, initially on reduced hours, in her role as a clinical nurse/midwife manager at Waikato Hospital – on her usual side of the hospital bed.

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