Winning the Presbyterian Support Otago award is a recognition of decades of nursing experience for Aspiring Enliven Care Home clinical manager Madeleine Esdaile.
The Otago Nursing Excellence Awards took place in Dunedin recently as part of International Nurses Day.
Mrs Esdaile’s love of nursing began as a volunteer in a resthome when she was only 12.
‘‘I always wanted to be a nurse, and my mother said ‘why don’t you go and volunteer at a rest-home and see if it is what you expect it to be?’’’
That turned into 30 years of nursing, in particular caring for the elderly.
‘‘Most of my career has been [in] aged care.’’
Being able to make a difference was one reason she enjoyed working in aged care.
Nursing for the aged had progressed over the years, but it had not always been properly appreciated, she said.
‘‘It’s been seen in the hospitals sometimes as second-class nursing.’’
But it was now valued as a specialised area.
With people staying at home for longer, aged care had become more complex.
‘‘By the time they come here they need a lot more care.’’
Aged care was more than ‘‘just looking at the person in the bed’’, Mrs Esdaile said.
Finding out about their background and understanding social history were important parts of making residents as comfortable as they could be, and aged-care nurses worked hard to connect residents with others of a similar mind.
The residents had ‘‘amazing’’ stories to tell and they were more than a sum of what they seemed now — many had raised families and had careers, she said.
It was ‘‘really nice’’ to get things right for the residents.
The staff at the care home made a great team, and she was grateful to rest-home manager Jacqui Boylen, she said.
‘‘She is an amazing manager.’’
It was great that Elmslie House clinical co-ordinator Kim Taylor was also a finalist for the award.
Having two from Wanaka nominated for the award was quite an achievement, Mrs Esdaile said.
Presbyterian Support Otago interim chief executive Gillian Bremner said Mrs Esdaile listened to residents and they felt genuinely heard.
‘‘She operates from a holistic perspective, considering what is happening clinically and emotionally for the residents.’’
One GP described her as highly skilled and organised and was always able to trust her clinical judgement, she said.
‘‘Madeleine stands out due to her high level of clinical expertise, her excellent communication skills and relationship building.’’
Although she dealt with stressful situations on a frequent basis, Mrs Esdaile was ‘‘calmness and kindness personified’’ and showed ‘‘genuine care and compassion for the residents she works with’’.