March 20, 2020

PSA’s on the frontline: Doing their bit

As Northern Health gears up to address COVID-19 (see our story here) the importance of team work has come into focus.

As Dr Nancy Sadka, Emergency Physician said “The key thing staff can learn…is that we need to be prepared and to practice and communicate as a team.”

The exercise highlighted some of the unsung heroes of our organisation, our Personal Service Assistants (PSA’s), and the key role they play as part of the front line team.

The PSA’s play many roles, besides participating in emergency response teams. They also transfer patients, equipment, urgent bloods, mail, and medical records besides ensuring compliance to DHS Cleaning Standards for Victorian Public Health Facilities.

Basil Ireland, Chief Financial Officer, said, “The PSA’s and cleaning workforce are critical to our day to day operations and in keeping the hospital clean and infection free for our patients, staff and families. This has never been more apparent than in the current circumstances.”

Margaret Ash and Usu Lian Bawi are two PSA’s from vastly different backgrounds. The first was born in Melbourne, the second came as a refugee from Burma.  They both agree on the sense of family they get from working at the Northern.

“I love the atmosphere here, you are a family, together in the hospital,” says Margaret. Usu agrees with a big grin that needs no translation.

They both have worked at Northern Health for just under a year, working across the wards, theatre and public areas such as the foyer. They both recently got to work at the new Fever Clinic and spoke of their experience there.

“Safety is a big consideration and I was provided with a mask and all the protective equipment (PPE),” says Usu, as he gets ready for his second shift at the Fever Clinic.

Margaret says “I didn’t think anything of it,” when she was asked to work in the Fever Clinic, and adds, “I did my bit”.

“We greatly admire the work our front line staff perform and the PSAs are a key part of the team,’ said Basil.

He recalls Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer, in his previous capacity as Chief Executive of Austin Health saying PSA’s are a critical part of the clinical team and ‘the legs the hospital stands on.’

‘Now is the time to show appreciation to our front line staff,” adds Basil.

We join Basil in wishing our front line staff stay Safe, practice being Kind to each other in these challenging times, and know that we are in this Together.

Featured Image (left to right): Margaret Ash and Usu Lian Bawi