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In home health care
04 April 2024

When you started your nursing life at the famous Saint Thomas’ Hospital Nightingale Training School (yes, founded by that Nightingale!), expectations were pretty high. Harvey Nutt should know – he graduated from the school in 1988. 

Some expected Nightingale graduates to be high flyers, holding positions of power in important institutions around the world. Of course, Florence Nightingale would’ve hoped for something more down-to-earth, or should we say, salt of the earth: simply the best care for people in need.

When Harvey, a 24-year RDNS veteran, reached the upper levels of nursing management in the UK, the power didn’t go to his head. Instead, he found himself rather lightheaded in an environment missing the very people for whom he started his nursing journey: patients.

“When I was a manager,” Harvey said, “I found myself asking, ‘When do I get to see patients?’ Ultimately, I realised that I couldn’t see myself sitting in a managerial role for the next 20 years. The move to Australia was the circuit breaker that helped me get back to what really mattered to me.”

Soon after arriving in Australia, Harvey saw an RDNS brochure featuring Russell Gorman – a name that will be familiar to some of our readers. When Russell, a “brilliant, intelligent nurse,” became Harvey’s Team Leader and mentor, Harvey knew he had landed on his feet.

It was in part thanks to Russell that Harvey discovered a love for community nursing.

“For me, community nursing is all about the quality of care you can deliver,” Harvey said. “With less distractions than an acute environment, I feel like I can give more of myself.”

Giving more of yourself is easy to say, but hard to do. Harvey, though, has a reputation for going the extra mile. One example occurred during a recent wound care visit. 

Harvey was visiting a client who rarely receives visitors. Harvey’s task: change the client’s wound dressing. What wasn’t on his task list was changing the client’s pressure stockings. Despite this, when Harvey noticed they looked a little grubby, he investigated. On removal, it was clear a change was long overdue: powdered dry skin poured onto the floor as the stockings were removed and the client’s legs looked dry and cracked. 

Harvey found a bottle of moisturiser in the client’s home and moisturised his legs, before replacing the stockings with a fresh pair. It was a small gesture, but one that will help prevent skin tears. More importantly, it created another point of human connection for someone who genuinely needs it.

“I like being able to use my skills to the max, to express myself as a nurse in a better way.

“When I graduated from the school founded by Florence Nightingale, there was a sense of pride: I knew I was a ‘Nightingale Nurse.’ After working with RDNS for 24 years, many things have changed, but I can still say that RDNS is a great place to be a nurse. The grass isn’t greener. I’m glad I’m still here, part of what I still consider to be a leading provider.”

Care is a chain reaction triggered by the smallest act of kindness—because when you’re cared for, you can care more. Join our care team of over 4,500 clinical and community staff and help us provide more care to more Australians each year. 

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