Nurse ‘humbled’ by hospital founder’s award

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Buderim Private Hospital has honoured one of its own, with clinical nurse Kylie Wydell named as the inaugural recipient of the Elsa Wilson Award.

Named after the founder of the Sunshine Coast hospital, the award will be presented each year to a member of staff who goes above and beyond to uphold its values of working together, respect, justice, compassion and leading through learning.

Kylie, a wound care specialist and stomal therapist, said she was completely shocked by the award win.

“I had to make up a speech on the spot – I mean, no-one expects to win something like that, maybe Oscar winners do, I’m not sure,” she said, laughing.

The award was presented by Elsa Wilson’s daughter, Heidi Blair.

“To have her there talking about her mum, it was quite tearful and just really touching,” Kylie said.

“It’s just very humbling to be given an award and nice to be recognised.”

Kylie has been a nurse for 35 years, initially training at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, and she has worked all over Queensland.

She said she had always had an interest in wound care.

“It’s just so fascinating to me. Nine years ago there was a big change in my personal life and I was unable to continue doing shift work, so I spent two years studying wound care and another two years studying stoma care and I just love it,” Kylie said. 

“It’s so interesting and my day revolves around how can I make this better for this person – some people have chronic wounds and it impacts their whole life. 

“And with a stoma, particularly if it’s going to be permanent, people feel they don’t want to go out.

“So helping patients with these issues is very rewarding.”

Kylie still works on the wards at Buderim Private Hospital, and is involved in teaching up-and-coming nurses.

“I love teaching nursing students and grads, they’re our next generation of nurses and I’ve always been keen to share whatever knowledge I can, it’s so important – and for me as a nurse, you never stop learning,” she said.

“I have a network as well, with Wounds Australia and the Queensland Stoma Association.

“It’s a small group but they’re really inspiring and so great for advice, I ring them up regularly and say, ‘what do you think of this?’

“It’s a lovely network and very supportive.”

Kylie said the COVID-19 pandemic had been a challenging time for clinical care.

“I’ve done lots of phone consultations, I’ve done some over FaceTime,” she said.

“Some of our older clients have not been able to come out, or if they don’t have computers it’s hard for them to get the things they need. 

“So it’s meant just trying to give them a lot of support and make sure they’re okay. It’s been a time to think about how we can do things differently.”

For Kylie, working at a smaller hospital like Buderim Private, has a number of advantages.

“Everyone here knows each other – I work all over the hospital and I think I know everyone who works here,” she said.

“And the executive know everyone. Working at a smaller facility I think gives you more opportunity to go above and beyond. It’s a nice community, family feel to work here.”

Buderim Private General Manager Karen Clark said all the monthly winners of the hospital’s award program were considered for the overall prize, and the leadership team had the difficult task of voting on who would receive the Elsa Wilson Award.

“Well done to every person who was nominated as they are all incredibly deserving. However I would like to pass on special congratulations to Kylie, who received the Elsa Wilson Award in recognition of always being compassionate and supportive and willing to share her wealth of knowledge,” she said.

For Heidi Blair, whose mother's dream of establishing a community hospital in Buderim was realised in 1980, the new award has special significance.

“My mother would be very proud to know that her name is being used to honour exemplary care and service at Buderim Private Hospital and I felt very proud to stand in her stead to present the award,” Heidi said.

Kylie said all of her colleagues deserved an award.

“I’ve dedicated it to all the patients I’ve had over the years, and I’m just thankful I’ve been able to be a part of their journey,” she said. 

Read more: Buderim Private Hospital celebrates 40 years of care

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