Pursuing her passion

This month, as part of our celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we meet Ellie Gabrysiak Registered Nurse, Alcohol and Drug Clinical Services.

What led you toward nursing as a career?
I have always had some fascination with the medical industry. I went straight from high school to university determined to become a nurse, and here I am. I always wanted to work in a job that I enjoyed, that was rewarding and not predictable.

What does a ‘normal’ work day look like?
One of the things I love about this position is the variety of each day. My day often begins with clinical handover. This is a discussion within the team about active referrals, inpatients, outpatients to be seen, and generally organising our day. I’m also in charge of brewing the coffee in the morning to kick start the day.

As an alcohol and drug nurse my day is broken up by seeing scheduled patients in the Rapid Access Clinic (RAC) for withdrawal management, seeing admitted patients, attending over the phone relapse prevention counselling and assessments (due to COVID-19), receiving referrals from the Emergency Department (ED) and the wards, as well as supporting and giving advice to external health practitioners. My role is quite autonomous, challenging and has a lot of diversity.

What do you love most about your being a nurse?
Nursing in general is very flexible. You can work 9-5, Monday to Friday, shift work, and travel easily. It is also possible to find an area that you are passionate about and specialise in it. I have always been interested in alcohol and drug and finally get to pursue my passion.

The majority of our patients are between 16-35 years of age, they have a variety of co-morbid health conditions which all could lead to poor health outcomes including premature death. It’s very rewarding knowing I could make a difference, not only to the person but their family.

Why do you love working at Calvary Mater Newcastle?
I have been lucky enough to work for Calvary Mater Newcastle for nearly 14 years in a variety of different settings. I have seen big changes and progress at the Mater during this time. I began my journey here on one of the medical wards, then was seconded to ED where I was for close to 12 years.

After having my two beautiful babies I then decided to venture out of my much loved role in ED to drug and alcohol and research. I currently job share between these roles and absolutely love it. To me the Mater has always been like a family and I love the fact that you can go from ward to ward and be greeted by all the friendly staff.