Leading the way in hospital sterilisation services

With our Length of Service Awards fast approaching, we continue to share the stories of some amazing people who help keep Monash Health ticking.

Fiona ten Berk de Boer is celebrating 40 years with Monash Health.

A shoulder injury as a young intensive care nurse was a blessing in disguise for Fiona, now a knowledgeable and respected sterilisation manager.

“I tore my shoulder, and I just couldn’t get back to bedside care, so I went into infection prevention,” she says. “I really enjoyed it, so I stayed. It kind of evolved from there.”

Fiona joined Dandenong Hospital as an ICU nurse in 1982. Post-injury she moved into infection prevention in 2000. She managed sterilisation at Moorabbin Hospital and returned to Dandenong before moving to Clayton and Monash Children’s Hospital in 2016.

Fiona is now Monash Health Central Sterilising Services Manager across all campuses.

Her many highlights include:

  • commissioning Monash Children’s Hospital and planning for the Victorian Heart Hospital
  • recycling single-use medical instruments
  • assisting with the introduction of metal cannisters to replace sterilising wraps in short supply due to a pandemic-induced global shortage, and
  • helping find cleaning solutions for COVID-19 equipment such as fit test tubing.

Other hospitals have followed the lead of Fiona and her team on recycling, which saves large amounts of metal from landfill. “It’s like a little seed starts to grow and other people see that you’re doing it,” she says of their many innovations.

COVID-19 put the spotlight firmly on sterilisation and infection, which are more important than ever. “We’re now really the heartbeat of the hospital,” Fiona says.

The incredible support Fiona has received from Monash Health has encouraged her to continue her work, which included learning new technologies such as computerised instrument tracking.

She has two children, Daniel, 41, and Lauren, 38, and four grandchildren.

Still happily working, Fiona enjoys time with her family, including her sister and mother, knitting, sewing, Highland Dancing, and tending her 150 rose bushes.

 

Approved by Katrina Nankervis and Melinda Collins



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