Wednesday 06 March 2019

Meet Chris Burns – one of our senior nursing leaders who has a wealth of knowledge and experience from her 23 years at Bass Coast Health. During this time, Chris has nursed in every department, with the last two years spent as a senior nursing leader in the Emergency Department, the Hospital in the Home program and as the senior nurse in charge of the service after hours. Chris now oversees Bass Coast Health’s growing Sub-Acute Department as the Nurse Unit Manager.


The sub-acute ward is a specialty area of the health service that provides rehabilitation to people recovering from injuries, illness and surgeries. The aim of this specialist service is to improve the independence of people who have had complex conditions such as strokes. The sub-acute service also provides specialist palliative care to people at the end of their life, or to those with complex pain issues.  


Chris’s philosophy is to make sure that each patient is a true partner in their care. “You can see the difference it makes when patients and their families are involved in their own care. Whilst we have very skilled nurses, GP’s, physiotherapists, dieticians, podiatrists, speech pathologists, social workers and occupational therapists, the most important member of the team is the patient.  We need to make sure we understand their needs, and develop plans that meet their needs. We’re also lucky to have two brilliant Geriatricians from the Alfred and Monash who provide their expertise. Our team makes a huge difference to the quality of life of our patients and we’re all working together to ensure each patient has the best outcome possible”, she explains.

Chris says she loves the diversity of her role because no two days are ever the same – and the service is steadily growing. “It’s different to any type of nursing I ever thought I would do, but this role has given me a better understanding of what’s important. One of the most satisfying aspects of our work is watching patients improve over the course of their stay with us.  Or to be able to provide quality care and comfort for patients who are dying.  We understand the privileged role we have and take very seriously the responsibility of being able to care for people at this time”, she says.


Chris feels that it’s important for people to be able to receive the care they need locally.  “A large number of our patients come back from the big tertiary hospitals in Melbourne and it’s great to be able to continue their care closer to home”.


Chris says she’s remained at Bass Coast Health for so long because of the staff. “They’re fantastic – the lot of them.  We all work together and have respect for each other’s roles.  Bass Coast Health has offered me a lot of different opportunities and I have no interest in going anywhere else. I love the staff and the patients too much!”


For more information about Bass Coast Health’s Sub-Acute services call 03 5671 3281.

Pictured above - Nurse Unit Manager Chris is shown below with some of her Sub-Acute Team (L-R): Sonia Um, Richard Collier, Anu Thomas, Hue Chau, Chris Burns, Alex Huebner, Jill Ryan, Charlie Davine & Fran Spicer.