Enhancing the experience of every patient in her care is Alfred Health nurse Veronique Murphy’s passion – and it’s seen her named Outstanding Graduate in the 2018 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards
Veronique developed a process to record each patient’s likes, dislikes and interests across food, activities and routine, supporting easy communication of their preferences between team members.
Believing each person has the potential to positively or negatively influence a patient’s experience, Veronique designed a ‘patient preferences prompt sheet’. The sheet captures vital non-clinical information to help nurses and interdisciplinary staff provide compassionate, quality care. It’s especially useful for supporting patients who have difficulty communicating.
Seeing firsthand how these non-clinical aspects of patient care can improve health outcomes has inspired Veronique’s innovative approach to her role.
“As a nurse, the most rewarding part of my work is to be able to help each individual with the ‘little things’ – through positive interaction with family, taking extra time to hear a patient’s story or help them eat their favourite food,” she says. “It means I can work with the interdisciplinary team to make sure the patient can get home with appropriate, individualised resources.”
Sharing the deeply personal journey of each patient not only gives Veronique insights that can inform their care, but a genuine connection with them.
“I think it’s an honour to be able to hear about the happy and sad times in each person’s life and hear each person’s unique experience of wellbeing and illness – and perhaps use what I have learnt to help another patient on their journey,” she confirms. “No two people are the same and in a time-pressured environment, the most rewarding part of nursing is the meaningful interactions with others that promote person-centred care.”
Veronique says Alfred Health’s supportive and forward thinking culture empowers staff to advocate for positive change.
“I remember my first day at Alfred Health, listening to one of the organisation’s senior members ask its new graduate nurses to make sure they speak up with constructive criticism and fresh outlooks.
It really demonstrated Alfred Health’s openness to ongoing change and improvement to patient care.
"They recognise even a clinician of little experience can offer important insights and valuable new ideas. I love that they’re open to change through evidence-based practice, open to discussion, encourage professional and personal development, and are willing to invest in initiatives to make patient care safer and of a higher quality.”
Approaching every patient with respect and empathy is the key to improving health across our community, Veronique believes.
“I want to enable people to influence their own health – especially those negatively affected by their socio-economic conditions,” she affirms. “I’m interested in helping people engage with, and be engaged by, their own care and wellbeing. I strongly believe that holistic but person-centred care, with each interaction modified by the nurse to meet the unique needs of the patient (and their community), provides the best chance of improving health literacy, the ability of each person to dictate their own health, and ultimately, global wellbeing.”
It’s an inspiring vision, and winning the $10,000 award from generous sponsors ME – the bank for you - could help Veronique expand her role in it.
“The prize money would help pay for a Master’s degree in nursing and also to allow me to work in under-resourced parts of Australia and the world,” she explains. “Eventually I would like to become a nurse practitioner, working directly with people and families to improve community health literacy.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the award ceremony; to meet and hear about the achievements of other Australian health practitioners – it is a great honour and inspiration. I feel privileged to work in a country that celebrates and rewards them.”
Veronique says she’s inspired daily by her colleagues’ devotion to their work, and their support for her own nursing journey.
support for her own nursing journey.
“I’m constantly in awe of all the great nurses and midwives I’ve worked with and learnt so much from, and so I’m completely humbled that I was nominated for this award,” she says. “Every day I am surrounded by wonderful health care practitioners who demonstrate leadership, compassion and dedication.
“I was so actively supported by them during my graduate year at Alfred Health. I believe my recognition is also testament to their hard work and dedication, from which I’ve been able to learn so much.”