Working the Christmas shift with a smile

TURKEY carving mishaps and even Nintendo Wii-related injuries can mean a trip to the emergency department on Christmas Day.

Port Macquarie Base Hospital emergency department staff have seen that and more.

So when you tuck into your Christmas lunch, spare a thought for the team on duty at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.

Tuesday will be another day at work for doctors Brett Letchford and Laura Hodgson, clinical nurse unit manager Chris Johnson and hospital assistant Steve Hunt.

Emergency department clinical nurse unit manager Chris Johnson is no stranger to working on Christmas Day.

“It’s a different way of celebrating Christmas,” Mr Johnson said.

“We get to see all these other people who we might be able to help – it makes you feel good,” he said.

Christmas Day was particularly busy last year but staff still managed to grab a moment to lay out food on trolleys and celebrate Christmas the best way they could.

“This is our family as well because we are like family,” Mr Johnson said.

Registrar Dr Laura Hodgson will be based in the hospital’s Express Community Care Centre this Christmas after a shift in the emergency department last Christmas.

“It was a busy day last Christmas but it was actually quite fun,” she said.

“Everyone was in good spirits which was nice.”

Dr Brett Letchford, who will work on Christmas night, has been on duty about 10 times on Christmas Day across two decades.

“It’s just part of the job,” the emergency department career medical officer said.

That is a sentiment shared by hospital assistant Steve Hunt who works in cleaning and infection control.

“We just come in and get our job done,” he said.

The father-of-four still enjoys a family Christmas after he clocks off at 2.30pm.


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