Celebrating nurses at Windana – a chat with Sandra

A photo of a person wearing a graduation hat, smiling. Text reads: Sandra is Windana’s Manager Withdrawal & Coordinated Care, and a nurse. “As nurses we are incredibly privileged to share in special moments of people’s lives.” and "Sandra completed her master’s degree in April 2020, but was able to graduate this year with the easing of COVID restrictions."On 12 May each year, International Nurses Day encourages us to appreciate the extraordinary contributions nurses make to society.

To mark the occasion, we caught up with Sandra, who is Windana’s Manager Withdrawal and Coordinated Care and an experienced nurse. Sandra talks about the diverse roles nurses play at Windana, what she loves about the profession and how nurses are a voice to lead.

Nursing is one of the most versatile professions there is. It’s little surprise that our nurses work in such varied environments and capacities, as Sandra explains.

“Windana has a variety of settings that suit all nurses – enrolled nurses, psychiatric nurses, general nurses and Nurse Practitioners. We have outreach roles where the nurse can support people to detox in the home, a bit like the ‘hospital in the home’ service that operates in the community. We have roles in the withdrawal units where nurses support clients through the withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. We have roles at the Therapeutic Communities where nurses support the transition of residents as they continue their recovery journey.”

Nurses also have an important role in translating medical and health information so that clients have a better understanding of their choices. Our nurses also work closely with other professionals to provide clients and residents with quality programs and services.

“The great thing about how Windana works is that the nurses work side by side with case workers, support workers, therapists of all backgrounds, general practitioners and family members to support the person through their journey of Windana’s treatment options.”

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for nurses, there have been more opportunities to upskill, Sandra says.

“Training has been more accessible for nurses – so much has been offered online therefore there’s been greater opportunity for nurses to develop their skills and learning, without having to take days off from the workplace.”

When it comes to what she loves about nursing, Sandra explains that it’s the special relationship between nurse and client or patient.

“As nurses we are incredibly privileged to share in special moments of people’s lives – we share peoples journeys, witnessing joyful moments like birth, and serious moments like death, we are there when people are at their most vulnerable and need support. We often act as the scaffolding physically holding people up when they are too ill to walk, or the emotional scaffolding holding people together when they are facing a physical health crisis or a mental health crisis. People are comfortable around nurses.”

As a final note, we asked Sandra what she’d like the broader community to know about nurses this International Nurses Day.

“Nurses are great people, and make good friends, loyal and strong, often with a wicked sense of humour! Always have a nurse as a friend – keep them on speed dial in your phone, and they will always come to your aid when you need them. You’ll never be alone.”