OPERATION NURSE MANAGER: An unlikely experience led Leanne Seiffert to become the nurse manager of Lismore Base Hospital's Peri-Operative Department, overseeing five surgical units including the Operating Theatres and Day Surgery
OPERATION NURSE MANAGER: An unlikely experience led Leanne Seiffert to become the nurse manager of Lismore Base Hospital's Peri-Operative Department, overseeing five surgical units including the Operating Theatres and Day Surgery

How appendicitis inspired 36-year nursing career

LEANNE Seiffert had never had anything to do with illness, let alone hospitals, before choosing nursing as a career.

As luck would have it, within her first six months of training at Lismore Base Hospital, Leanne found herself on the other side of the equation, getting her appendix out.

“I came from a family who were quite healthy, and I had never actually set foot in a hospital,” Ms Seiffert said.

Born and bred in Lismore, she credits her involvement as a Girl Guide with forming a caring outlook that drew her to nursing, but it was her first experience as a patient that taught her the true value of great nursing care.

“I had a fantastic enrolled nurse who looked after me,” Ms Seiffert said.

“During that stay in hospital I really got to learn how important it is to listen to your patients, and what you can actually do as a nurse to make their stay a lot better.”

Starting out as a junior registered nurse in 1984, Ms Seiffert worked her way up over the years, and is now the nurse manager of Lismore Base Hospital’s peri-operative department, overseeing five surgical units including the operating theatres and day surgery.

During her 36-year career, Ms Seiffert has become a multiskilled nurse and educator, working across anaesthetics, recovery and as ‘scrub scout’, retrieving surgical instruments for the surgeon during a procedure.

As a young nurse, the excitement of being a part of big cases helped fuel Ms Seiffert’s passion for the job.

“We used to get a lot of complex trauma cases come through, and quite a few where you’d have two teams operating at the same time in the theatre,” she said.

“Our theatres back then were so tiny, but it was amazing what you could do in those spaces.

“I was here in the 1980s when we had the two very old theatres. In 1992 we moved into the new theatres, and we thought it was amazing to have such a big space with four theatres.

“In no time at all we’d outgrown it, and now, to move over to the new facility, it’s just amazing.”

In the new LBH theatre complex, Ms Seiffert’s team are now working with the latest technology in state-of-the-art surroundings.