A look at our COVID-19 response so far

A reflection from St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney

For the past two years we have been navigating the challenges of COVID-19, starting right back in February 2020. However, reflecting on the past 12 months at St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney a few key words spring to mind - personal protective equipment, red alert, social distancing and vaccinations. The overall impact of COVID-19 could not have been predicted, and responding to this worldwide health crisis brought its own unique challenges for us as a private hospital within a major healthcare campus. While it isn’t over just yet, we had a look at our response so far recognising our contribution to Australia’s fight against COVID-19.

Our mission, to support and care for those most vulnerable in our community, is at the heart of what we do, and last year truly personified that. Leading with this mission, we were committed to continuing our culture of cooperation, collaboration and caring. Every department worked around the clock; adapting, responding, and being flexible and agile to the day-to-day challenges that came about.

From early on, we had our wards prepared ready to accept patients from St Vincent’s Public Hospital Sydney, other Local Health Districts and aged care residents, if we were required to.

At the peak of the pandemic, around 50% of our beds were filled with public patients, many of which had challenging medical needs. Our ICU had more than 50% public patients too. To allow public nurses to support the public system, we had to reduce our own activity and have our private nurses step in. By the end of September, we had cared for over 1,500 medical and surgical public patients. This meant many of our nursing staff were looking after patients outside of their usual scope. As reflected on by one of our Clinical Nurse Educators, Ciara, everyone really had to rally together, “The past few weeks we have really had to pull together, to work as a team…our collaboration and sharing of knowledge and information with the public has been so helpful in our preparation. It’s the little things, that don’t seem so important, but are definitely great tips and tricks,” Ciara, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney Clinical Nurse Educator/Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Across our campus, everyone, clinical and non-clinical, stood strong in a commitment to patient-centred care. There wasn’t a time when our values came into question. One of our Environmental Services Supervisors, Jack works across the public and private, "COVID has been a challenge, but I am always looking at how I can do better. I’m not a doctor, I’m not nursing staff, but what I am doing is still helping a patient. It doesn’t matter if you’re a cleaner or work in the laundry, everyone is doing something to help our patients. That is why I work at St Vincent’s,” Jack, St Vincent’s Environmental Services Supervisor.

With the significant impacts and unprecedented changes, we updated our processes to continue to safely manage patient care. With these changes, came important learnings about ourselves, our teams and our organisation, placing us in a good position for the future. Vincent, one of our Nurse Unit Managers has worked at the hospital for 35 years, and having been part of many changes has seen some legacies that have put us in good stead for the future, “I think COVID-19 has made us more cohesive. It has taught us a lot about each other, as well as who we are as an organisation. It has been a great learning experience, and these will be learnings we can take into the future and expand upon.”

At St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, we are committed to excellent patient care, underpinned by partnering with our patients and their families, engaging with our admitting specialists as well as our community of referring GPs. As difficult as it has been to navigate the unique challenges that have come with the pandemic it is only through this that we have grown. Through our commitment to patient care, our dedicated team and our access to the latest technology and research we are in a strong position to grow our business, invest in our people and improve our services moving into the next year.  

For more information about our current COVID-19 restrictions click here

Better and fairer care. Always.

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