A Day in the Life of…
Julie Flanagan - Registered Nurse and mother of four
It’s incredibly rewarding when parents tell me how their time at Tresillian has actually ‘saved’ them or ‘completely changed’ their lives.
Many have difficulties with breast or formula feeding, some have sleep and settling problems, and others may be experiencing toddler behavioural issues. Most are sleep deprived and some might be battling anxiety or depression. I feel privileged that parents share so much of themselves with me, especially when often they are feeling quite vulnerable. It’s particularly satisfying to see parents gain confidence during the course of their stay and the triumph they feel when they independently soothe a previously unsettled infant to sleep in their own cot.
The team is fantastic at accommodating the wide range of families that exist today. We work with traditional nuclear families, single parents, same sex couples and older parents – and they are all treated with the same concern and respect. As we say, ‘It’s in our nature to nurture’…it isn’t to judge. We have a number of parents who have come back with their second child, usually because they had such a positive experience the first time, but often it will be for a different reason. They might need tips on how to juggle two children or to spend a few days getting to know their baby without the distraction of a toddler or other family commitments. It could be due to a lack of family support, with grandparents living overseas or elderly. Lots of mums we see are returning to work or have elderly parents to also care for.
We come in all shapes and sizes and have our own unique personalities, yet one thing that always impresses me is how incredibly supportive each and every member of staff is towards the parents. One nurse I work with was so affected by the plight of one of the mothers, who was a refugee with no support network, that she went to a store and bought the mother a number of baby outfits and supplies.
I joined Tresillian five years ago after I completed my child and family health qualification and I quickly became interested in how anxiety and depression can affect the parenting process. It’s apparent that early intervention and treatment for these parents is crucial for the healthy development of the child and the protection of solid family relationships. We play an important role in helping families during what can be a challenging period in their lives.
As an organisation we have a long history of providing practical parenting advice but Tresillian has also moved with the times and realises the importance of adopting evidence based practices. We keep up to date with current research in the art of parenting. Ongoing education for staff is encouraged, with a range of scholarships available to pursue qualifications in perinatal or adult mental health, for example. When I decided to undertake my psychology qualification my manager was very supportive.
Although some in our team have other qualifications, such as law degrees or speech pathology, they find that as child and family health nurses they can make a tangible, positive difference in the lives of parents. And that’s obviously gratifying.