Bringing out the best in times of crisis 

COVID-19 has presented many challenges we’ve never encountered, both personally and as an organisation. The rate and scale at which this pandemic evolved were unimaginable a few short months ago. It is moments like these that showcase the natural leadership instincts of our dedicated employees.  

One such example of working together in demanding situations is when you are faced with the reality of assembling a brand-new team and creating standard operating procedures where the situation is anything but ‘standard’.  

COVID-19 Admissions team was assembled and deployed in a manner of a few weeks.  

Director of General Medicine, Sumi Bhaskaran, said “The way this came together is a testament to teamwork and leadership at all levels. 

It took a pre-existing Monash Medical Centre (MMC) General Medical unit, a willing team of Junior Medical Staff (JMS) available at very short notice and the hasty development of a roster that was practicable for staffing the new unit.   

The first team of doctors included Andre DMello, Maneesha De Silva, Nancy Li, Alex Simpson and Michael Barclay. Since the commencement of the COVID-19 Admissions unit at MMC, many more JMS have volunteered to be part of this frontline team. 

Operationally and practically, this stellar team was learning and creating processes in realtime and using constant communication and cooperative thinking to innovate and adapt swiftly and seamlessly as the situation required 

In an environment where the community has many hesitations and anxieties surrounding the unknown, this team was able to remain calm, even when faced with the complexity of unknowns themselves. 

Suspected COVID Admissions Registrar, Andre DMello, explains one of the challenges they faced as a team: 

It’s made us think more strategically about how we deliver care and gather information. Communication between patient and health professionals had to be considered differently. We had to change the way patient history was collected and sharedWe began using the phones in the rooms and the patient was connected to the ward phone on speaker. This meant we could communicate more clearly without the PPE barriers and it also allowed us to hear patient history together. 

Andre recalls: What started as theoretical ideas and plans, evolved and came together very quickly. The transformation between the first rounds of the week to the seventh showed how quickly we became a wellpracticed unit. 

We can all relate to how important it is to step up in these circumstances, and this team demonstrated this in spades giving confidence to each other and importantly to our patients to deliver an uncompromising level of care. 

This is just one example of many across our whole organisation that shows how, in times of crisis, Monash Health employees can be counted on to bring out their best. 

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