20 January 2023

Wagga nurse rewarded for 'small acts of kindness'

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Fiona Allen

Fiona Allen was inspired by her mother to become a nurse. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Fiona Allen is known for going out of her way to help the people around her – whether they are her colleagues or patients.

The Wagga Wagga Base Hospital recovery nurse is also known to have a soft spot for the elderly and recently won the NSW Health’s Gathering of Kindness Award for 2022.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) says the award is an initiative focused on human connections.

“A smile, listening to worries, or a reassuring conversation are some of the small acts of kindness that make a big difference to the experience of our patients and their families, and our staff, across Murrumbidgee Local Health District,” MLHD said in a statement.

Fiona said she was “really surprised” to have received the award and been “presented with the most beautiful bunch of flowers”.

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“It was so nice to be recognised, but I do feel that there are so many people who could also have been chosen,” Fiona said.

“There is much that happens in the background within a hospital, from nursing staff and health professionals to support staff and domestic staff.

“Many of whom sometimes go unnoticed and are all deserving as well.”

The registered nurse said she and her colleagues were dedicated to delivering the best health outcomes for the community to ensure they received the best compassionate care.

“It takes nothing to do things with kindness, and I feel that is what we are all about here.”

The registered nurse of 34 years was inspired by her mother, a passionate advocate for nursing as a career.

“I took inspiration from her to pursue nursing as my vocation,” Fiona said.

“On second thoughts, at one stage I did consider being a secretary for a brief second, but my mum knew I didn’t really mean it,” Fiona said.

Fiona’s career has spanned Sydney, Canberra and even around the world when she worked as an agency nurse.

In 2014, she decided to relocate back to Wagga so she could be close to her family.

The recovery nurse provides care to patients right after surgery. Her role involves looking after a wide range of trauma patients and those who’ve had elective surgery.

“We have a fast turnover, and it can be consistently busy, but the work is different every day and rewarding.

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“It sounds corny, I know, but I do love caring for people and taking the time to reassure them about any concerns they have and help them feel as comfortable and safe as possible.

“It’s the little things that add up when people feel a bit confused and sometimes overwhelmed. It could be that friendly, reassuring smile, a cup of tea, or that promise to follow up calls to loved ones.”

Fiona feels that her role is vital for elderly patients who may wake up disoriented, believing they are still awaiting surgery.

She just needs to be there to sit and explain they’ve had the surgery and that everything is OK.

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