San staff thank students for their support

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Brigidine College’s Anika Townley meets Sydney Adventist Hospital wardsmen manager Narelle Sutton.

Staff at Sydney Adventist Hospital have thanked students from a local school for their heart-warming and inspiring letters of support and hope sent to bolster their spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Close to 100 students from Brigidine College created moving and soulful messages acknowledging the pressures on doctors, nurses and other support staff, voicing their thanks for the expertise and sacrifices they were making in caring for the ill and preventing the spread of infection.

During the visit to the hospital by five of the students, San staff were represented by medical and nursing staff, infection control, hospitality, food services and physiotherapy team members.

Associate Professor Michael Hughes thanked the girls for their letters and reaffirmed the positive impact the gesture had made on the hospital’s 2400 staff and 1100 visiting medical specialists.

“The wonderful display of support from the girls at Brigidine College was really inspiring and uplifting, and a wonderful boost to all the staff,” he said.

San intensive care unit, emergency care, other nursing staff, hospitality, food services and physiotherapy staff and director of Surgical Services Associate Professor Michael Hughes with students Natasha Townley and Olivia Howel.

San nurse operational executive Clare Lumley agreed, saying it helped staff during the immense planning and preparation required over the past few months.

“The encouragement from the community and schools provided that extra support and strength the teams needed to deal with the challenges of a crisis that has never been dealt with before in Australia.”

Brigidine College’s Skye Wacher said the letter writing project was part of a pastoral care program that also included writing to the elderly in aged care homes.

“It’s nice for the girls to give back to the community and let people know that they’re thinking of them, especially when they were remote learning,” she said.

“It’s good for the girls to make sure that hospital and healthcare workers are aware that people realise what a challenging time it was and how much they’re appreciated.

“Without hospital workers we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today. So I think it’s great for young students to realise what a difference they can make by a simple gesture and the amount of thought and time that went into it was really rewarding.”

San director of Medical and Surgical Services Ross Penman shared with the students how supportive messages help all staff stay strong in what can be a difficult environment.

“Even small messages of support help build up our emotional resilience,” he said. “These letters fill up our emotional buckets to help us back up again to keep going. They made a huge difference. Thank you.”