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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Nurse of the Year was always destined for caring profession

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Those who know Western Australian nurse Deborah Jones might tell you she was born for a role in the caring profession.

Even an unsuspecting insurance salesman who visited Jones’ home many years ago can attest to this.

“My mum tells a story of me giving an injection to the insurance man [while I was] standing on a stool,” Jones says, laughing.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse.”

“I think I’ve always wanted to care for people, see them get well and, if we can, reduce any pains or suffering.”

Jones is an ​aged care transition and liaison nurse at Rockingham General Hospital and has just been named 2020 Nurse of the Year at the WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards (WANMEA).

One of Jones’ notable achievements is her involvement in a project that aims to achieve sustainable outcomes for older adults at risk of readmission to hospital.

Her work in this area has led to a decline in adverse outcomes and readmission to hospital with patients reporting improved understanding of their medical conditions and medications.

I think I’ve always wanted to care for people, see them get well and, if we can, reduce any pains or suffering.”

Deborah Jones

For me, the role started in 2017 and it involves me transitioning patients back into their home when they’re discharged from the hospital,” Jones explains.

“So we go into the patient’s house, we assess from the front door, right through to the back door and make sure they’ve got everything that they need to be safe and healthy at home.”

Another important part of the service is connecting patients with a GP, social support, and educating them on anything from Congestive Cardiac Failure (CCF) to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) diabetes, constipation, bowel management or catheter care.

Jones says it’s the educational side of her role she enjoys most.

“I like to see the patients get well be safe and be empowered by the information that we give them,” she says.

She says it’s important to spend time helping patients understand their condition and put things in terms that make sense to them.

She and colleague Hayley Yeo use a range of tools including iPads, to connect patients with information and resources they may not be aware of.

Jones also feels the home is the best setting for important learning to occur. 

“In the hospital setting, they don’t get time to educate, and the patients are sick, so it’s not the appropriate time to be doing the education.

“When they go home, they can listen to you and take it on board and they feel empowered then to have some quality of life.”

After winning the category award for Excellence in Primary, Public and Community Care, as well as the top honour of Nurse of the Year, Jones will receive scholarship funding to put towards professional development.

She hopes to use the funding in a way that allows her to share her knowledge with others.

“I know that I want to do something worthwhile, so that I can teach other nurses how to do the discharge process and it’s going to be a knock-on effect for my work,” she says.

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