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Health professional series: Door to door

A day in the life of Emily Couch, Australian Unity Community Registered Nurse.
Emily Couch with an Australian Unity customer.

Your story
I’m from a large family; I have three siblings, eight uncles, eight aunties and 20 first cousins. We are all very close. Many of them work in nursing, medicine, dental, pathology and allied health, though we are all from a farming background. I still live on a 100-hectare cattle property with a kelpie named Pelican, a quarter horse named Orchy, a pet cow named Josie and three pet sheep: Oscar, Lily and Lucas.

I studied for my Bachelor of Nursing at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales. It was very hands‑on and made the transition to the start of my nursing career very smooth.

What do you do? 
I work with Australian Unity as a Community Registered Nurse in western New South Wales. We cover a vast area, and, as community nurses, we deal with general wellbeing, medication and procedures such as wound and catheter care. We also do a holistic assessment of all our customers, coordinate with their doctors and specialists and work with our Home Care Service coordinators to provide any required home care or healthcare services to ensure they have everything they need to remain living in their own home. 

Who do you support?
Generally, our customers range from people in their mid-60s to those in their late-90s. I don’t have any centenarians yet. Some live on isolated properties, some are in rural towns, others live 30 minutes or an hour or more out of town. A lot of our customers have Home Care Packages, but we care for anyone and everyone – people with dementia, disability, chronic disease or people who need palliative care.

A day in your life
Of course, every day is different. It can be anything from wound care to catheter changes and other procedures you might do in a hospital. We do all that in the comfort of people’s homes. I also talk with many doctors, families and carers. There’s a lot of emotional support provided. I might be going to see customers for the first time or organising palliative care for a new or existing client. My role is to look at how people like to live their lives; their clinical, medical and social needs and their family support systems. Our aim is to support people to remain in their own homes for longer. 

I love my job. It’s brilliant. It’s great to see so many people and to be able to give back to the community and make it easier for people to live their lives the way they want to live them.

People say that having a nurse come to see them makes them feel supported and safe. They know they can stay in their homes and ask for extra help if they need it. 

 

Words: Margaret Barca Pictures: Michael Amendolia


Find out more

Speak to your local Australian Unity branch or call 1300 160 170 to learn more about our in-home nursing services.

Emily Couch

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If you are not comfortable asking the doctor something, you can always talk to a nurse.

We can assist in: providing, referring and co-ordinating medical care, home and garden maintenance, pet care and household cleaning talking with doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, massage therapists, pharmacists and radiologists providing continence care and assessment, wound care and catheter care offering nutrition management, weight loss/gain and chronic disease management.

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