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Celebrating our nurses and 60 years of Thomas Hogan Rehab Centre

Group of six female nurses wearing blue scrubs.
Front: Cass Foreman, Nicole Sullivan, Meaghan Asham
Back: Mariya Joy, Letoya Southern, Mary-Emma Hurley

10 May marked 60 years since the opening of the Thomas Hogan Rehabilitation Centre at Northeast Health Wangaratta. The date coincides with International Nurses Day, a worldwide day of recognition of the important care that nurses provide.

In 1940, Thomas Hogan (one of three brothers from Peechelba) left a large bequest to the Wangaratta hospital, with the estate providing substantial funds each year until 1971. The funds were put towards building a long-term ward, which opened in 1964 and was later amalgamated with the ground east sub-unit to become the Thomas Hogan Centre in 2005.

The ward continues to provide rehabilitation and geriatric evaluation management and recovery for hundreds of patients each year, many who require a longer stay in hospital.

Mary-Emma Hurley has worked in the Thomas Hogan Centre for eight years and said the multidisciplinary approach of the teams is a major factor in enhancing care for patients.

“Some of our patients are with us for extended periods of time – it could be months – and from their first day in our unit, the teams work together to identify what the patient needs to help them make the best recovery to be in a position to go home,” Emma said from the Thomas Hogan Centre.

“We work closely with patients and their families, and the medical and allied health teams to set achievable goals and everyone comes together to contribute to the development of their care plan.”

As a ward that caters for both acute and sub-acute patients, staff working in Thomas Hogan Centre often develop a close rapport with patients and their families, with patients sometimes admitted for months while they undertake rehabilitation.

“Our Thomas Hogan Centre is quite different to other wards, in terms of its environment,” Mary-Emma said.

“Because of the length of stay required for some of our patients, we try to make it as homely as possible and encourage patients to eat at the dining table, watch TV in the lounge and socialize with other patients.”

“It’s wonderful to see patients progress, from potentially not being able to walk, or to eat on their own, to make each steps in recovery and see how far they come.”

“If we cross paths in the community and see them back to their more normal routines, that’s really special and satisfying.”

Newer to the Thomas Hogan Centre is Enrolled Nurse, Cass Foreman, who has been a nurse for 2 years and working at NHW for 18 months.

“I did my placement here as a student nurse and loved it from the start,” Cass said.

“The team, the work environment, the behind-the-scenes planning is all really interesting and there is a great sense of teamwork.”

“When I finished my placement I told the team I would be coming back to work here…. And here I am!”

“I love the rapport that we build with patients, because they are often here for longer, and seeing the progress they make.”

“It makes me proud to be a nurse, to help a patient feel proud of the progress they have made. And you know they appreciate it so much, and I love that.”

International Nurses Day is Sunday 12 May. A theme is set each year by the International College of Nursing (ICN), incorporating 130 national nursing associations around the world, which for 2024 is ‘Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care’ to promote the economic and societal benefits that strategic investment in nursing contributes to health care and society as a whole.

The ICN will release an international report on the economic power of care on 12 May 2024.