Your questions answered about working in the Victorian Heart Hospital ICU

With the grand opening of the Victorian Heart Hospital right around the corner, we sat down with Director Clinical Operations, Critical Care Joanne McCann to discuss her role and everything you need to know about Australia’s first cardiac specific ICU. 

As the existing Director Clinical Operations, Critical Care at Monash Health, you’ve absorbed the responsibilities of managing the VHH ICU into your role. What will your day-to-day look like managing this new ICU? 

I’m already responsible for managing all the existing adult intensive care units, including Casey, Dandenong and Monash Medical Centre, and now that will also include the Victorian Heart Hospital. For my role, it will be an extension of the support and workforce planning we already provide to these existing sites into the new VHH ICU. I’ll be overseeing the ICU and helping to incorporate it into the broader family of adult intensive care units at Monash Health. My role is unique in that it encompasses large units across multiple sites.  

How will the ICU at the VHH differ in comparison to other ICU’s? 

It’s specific to cardiac care, so we’re able to really focus on both refining and defining cardiac clinical care as well as all the new state-of-the-art technology that will come with that. It’ll have a very focused level of expertise, including our new nurse-led extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) service, which is a portable bypass machine to help support people with heart failure. The nurses will be running the ECMO service with the medical staff within the ICU, which will be a real extension of practise for our ICU nurses. We’re really looking forward to bringing in people with expertise and experience from their existing roles into this new ICU. It’s a very unique opportunity to start a team completely from scratch in a purpose-built facility. The VHH ICU is offering us an opportunity to extend the scope of practice for nurses and doctors alike, so it’s really extending people’s passion and their opportunities for further growth they might not have been given in other units. 

Director Clinical Operations, Critical Care Joanne McCann can’t wait for the moment she gets to see the very first patient come through the doors of the VHH ICU.

Why are you passionate about working in the ICU? 

My real passion for ICU is helping staff to reach their potential and really developing their skills and expertise. I am privileged to work with highly professional teams within these units and I love bringing together people who are really passionate about the work they do. 

What part are you looking forward to the most when the VHH opens? 

I’m most looking forward to getting through that first day and knowing it has all come together and finally happened. That first patient rolling through the door on the first day will be very exciting. Seeing the first of everything and all the hard work coming together and seeing the team spirit and comradery forming is what I’m really looking forward to. I’ve been involved in the planning and operationalising of this hospital for the last couple of years, but some others have been involved for around 10 years, so it’ll be exciting for it to finally come to fruition.  

What would you say to any nurses or doctors thinking about applying to work in the VHH ICU? 

We’re aiming to have a high-functioning team, so if you’re someone with advanced career aspirations, you’re the right person for us. We want to give people opportunities that are unique and really advance people’s development, and Monash Health is the place to do that. Our ICU’s are incredibly supportive environments and we get a lot of strength and support from the broader team. It’s not an isolated intensive care unit, but a part of a much bigger team full of people with specialised interests and we’re going to bring this existing culture into the VHH ICU. I really love seeing people step into new opportunities who have the right attributes to be leaders and really great clinicians.  Seeing them blossom in their roles is incredible, and we’ve seen some impressive applications with people who are really passionate about cardiac care so far through the VHH recruitment process. 

Roles at the Victorian Heart Hospital are closing soon. To grow your career at Australia’s first dedicated cardiac hospital, visit our careers website and apply today! 

Approved by Bernadette Comitti

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