Caitlin shares what life is like as an Orthopaedic Nurse

27 March 2023
The Wesley Hospital Compassionate Companion volunteer smiling and pointing to a patient in bed

So, orthopaedics is just broken bones, right? This is a far more complex and nuanced field of nursing according to Clinical Nurse Caitlin who has been with The Wesley Hospital for the past four years.

Caitlin works on the orthopaedics ward and says no two days are the same as the work is fast paced, challenging and very rewarding.

“We have a diverse range of patients, from younger people with broken bones or sporting injuries those having joint replacements to the elderly who have fallen and even those with sarcomas (bone cancer),” Caitlin said.

“Our unit also deals with trauma from events such as car accidents and we often have competing medical issues to manage.

“To be an orthopaedic nurse you have to have a well-rounded understanding of all specialities as we use different skills including IV medication, traction, drains, complex wound case and pain management.

“My favourite part about nursing is seeing patients go home in a better condition that what they came in.”

Caitlin is also actively involved in training and mentoring student and graduate nurses and was a recipient of the Nursing Preceptor of the Year Award in 2021.

“I enjoy mentoring new staff, when I was a student I didn’t have a great experience on placement and I actually wanted to quit nursing,” Caitlin said.

“I worked as a paramedic and then did another placement which reignited the drive I had for nursing so I returned.

“Now that I am in a position where I can teach I really want to train and mentor younger nurses in a positive way.”

She said Orthopaedic nursing offered plenty of opportunity for career growth and development plus continuous training and education.

“I do enjoy this ward, the advice I would give to other nurses who were interested in working in orthopaedics would be you need to have good time management skills, stay calm under pressure and be able to problem solve. But it’s all very worthwhile.”

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