Health chief opens up on WA’s busiest emergency department

Vanessa Clayden. Photo: Jon Hewson. d491237 communitypix.com.au.
Vanessa Clayden. Photo: Jon Hewson. d491237 communitypix.com.au.

MORE than 300 people per day make their way through the doors of WA’s busiest emergency department.

Luckily, Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Head of Emergency Medicine is attracted to the unpredictable nature of the job.

Talking on the eve of International Women’s Day on March 8, Dr Vanessa Clayden opened up to Community News about the complexities of the job at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

She took up the role in September 2016 following about 20 years in the industry and said working in the emergency department could be like a rollercoaster.

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“One minute its quite and contained and the next its chaos, you can’t control the traffic,” he said.

“So there is a sense of unknown and that can attract people, it’s true for me as well.

“I gravitate to the unpredictably and the huge variety of things that can happen, it means I need to be agile and respond to them.

“I’ve been enough around the block so I’m hard to surprise but humans are capable of unexpected things.”

Dr Clayden said she felt lucky to work in a field that valued the contribution of women and men equally.

“I think it’s fantastic that 53 per cent of our senior medical staff are female,” she said.

“I’m grateful that men and women are equal contributors and I feel blessed to be in this industry

“I also feel a responsibility to motivate the entire staff and continue delivering for the public.”

Dr Clayden said her work was split equally between administration and clinical work.

“We have 125 doctors, 45 of who are specialists and the rest are doctors in training so we need to make sure they are working cohesively,” she said.

“We are one of the two busiest emergency departments in the country, we see about 110,000 people per year which works out to be just over 300 people per day.

“What motivates me is to be a benchmark department in Australia and to maintain staff cohesion and keep it as a collaborative environment.”

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