rich rewards in partnership


Some wounds are hard to see. But HESTA Nursing and Midwifery Awards 2017 Outstanding Graduate Rebecca Rich never loses her focus on helping them heal.

As a Graduate Nurse at Western Australia’s Perth Clinic, a private psychiatric hospital, Rebecca works with patients ranging in age from early teens to centenarians. Skilfully adapting her approach to fit each person’s unique and complex needs, her every act of care is grounded in patient-centredness.

And while this is a given for experienced care professionals, Rebecca stands out for grasping its importance so early in her career.

“In mental health the bedrock of quality nursing and caring is in the significance of the partnership, the connection between patient and clinician,” says Nurse Unit Manager Brenda Fieldhouse. “Rebecca’s compassionate care is based on a mutual relationship between her peers and her patients, founded on the principles of openness, warmth, honesty, trust and respect.



“Rebecca demonstrates advanced nursing competencies beyond her years," Brenda continues. "That's clear whether she’s caring for adolescents with emerging borderline personality disorders, people with drug and alcohol issues, patients who have suffered sexual abuse and violence, mums and dads with depression and/or anxiety, or gerontology patients for whom the ageing process is not always idyllic.”

Getting to know patients as people first is not just part of Rebecca’s practice: it drives her vision to change how mental illness is viewed in the community.


“There’s still a lot of stigma around mental health, and we need to break it down to improve the quality of care for mental health patients,” Rebecca affirms.


“Creating acceptance in society will ultimately improve mental health services and patients’ recovery.”


Better days ahead

As an emerging leader, Rebecca is thirsty for innovative ideas to improve patient support.

She has completed training with Children of Parents with Mental Illness; in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder; in the ‘Mandatory Reporting Program’ with the Department of Child Protection; and with the Butterfly Foundation, supporting patients with eating disorders. She is also collecting data for the new Well Being Index, an iPad app patients use to monitor their own mood and self-harm risk factors each day.

Rebecca will use her prize money from ME - the bank for you - to explore firsthand other mental health programs around Australia.

“I plan to visit hospitals that treat personality disorders, find out how they’ve been successful and bring this back to the Perth Clinic to help us improve,” she says.



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