Kelly’s calling in pain

Jillian Kelly has been nominated for two awards for her acute pain service discharge clinic. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d404323
Jillian Kelly has been nominated for two awards for her acute pain service discharge clinic. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d404323

As the only acute pain nurse practitioner in WA, Mrs Kelly said her role at St John of God Subiaco Hospital was linking nursing and medical teams together to provide preventative, holistic and ongoing patient care.

In December 2012, she established the first nurse practitioner-led acute pain service discharge clinic in Australia, where more than 1500 outpatients have been treated.

‘When I started prescribing opioids to non-cancer patients, I began to question how or even if these individuals were weaning off the medication,’ Mrs Kelly said.

‘Long-term use of opioids can lead to serious physical, psychological and psychosocial implications.

‘I thought ‘If I am going to be prescribing these medications, I have an obligation to follow the patient’s journey after they leave the hospital’.’

Mrs Kelly said the clinic was a means of keeping in touch with patients and their GPs.

‘I can think of many cases where the patient goes home to sleep in their own bed with the reassurance that they are coming back to see someone they know and trust in the clinic on Monday,’ she said.

Nominated in the Emerging Leader and Metropolitan Clinical Registered Nurse award categories, Mrs Kelly said she could not imagine a job that was more rewarding.

‘I now have autonomy to make decisions as a nurse and facilitate more positive outcomes for my patients, which is so empowering,’ she said.

‘As mum to five children, at times it has been difficult to juggle my family life with such a demanding job.

‘However, it’s all about being careful with your work-life balance.’

The WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards will be announced on October 26.