14 January 2023

"It gets my adrenaline going": Harden Hospital midwife and registered nurse Leah Whitehead on her job

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Leah Whitehead

Registered nurse and midwife Leah Whitehead worked for the Royal Hospital for Women for two decades. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Living and working in a regional town gives Leah Whitehead the best work-life balance.

The Harden Hospital registered nurse and midwife loves the people in her community.

“We as a community are just like one big family,” Leah said. “There is no better place to be.”

Leah initially thought she would be bored if she went to work in a rural setting but found the emergency department got the same presentations as those in the city.

“It’s not just as many or all at once. I find it really challenging, and I love it,” she said.

“If somebody presented to ED and we don’t have a medical service available, they get care from us immediately.

“We escalate that, get guidance from doctors and get to make a thorough assessment of what we think is going on.”

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Leah says she finds it fascinating having to use her brain, eyes, and ears to make assessments when she doesn’t have a medical officer at the hospital.

“It gets my adrenaline going.”

Leah made the move back home to Harden from Sydney to look after her parents.

She had spent two decades caring for women with high-risk pregnancies at the Royal Hospital for Women.

Even though she loved her job and the challenges she faced every day, she had no regrets and had no plans to return to her life in Sydney.

Leah says the quality of patient care is exemplary in Harden even though it’s a smaller hospital.

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“Not only do they get the best quality care, whether it’s face-to-face or via virtual services, but at Harden Hospital, there is something extra special on offer,” Leah said.

“The patients in Harden have their own room with their own bathroom, freshly cooked food with fruit and veggies grown on-site.

“It’s one of the many benefits patients receive in a regional hospital.

“We are a smaller facility, but we can offer this kind of care and service to our patients that may not be available in the bigger, busier hospitals.”

Murrumbidgee Local Health District said 90 per cent of Harden Hospital’s food was cooked on-site, and Murrumburrah-Harden Health Service had hospital care beds and residential aged care beds.

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