Staff profiles

Alex Keegan
Trauma clinical nurse specialist and Emergency Department flow coordinator

“I love my new role as trauma clinical nurse specialist and looking after patients. It’s so rewarding seeing their journey from start to finish in the hospital. The team I work with always makes it a great time at work, no matter how busy we are.”

Inspirational women leaders
Alex has worked with many people who’ve had a strong, positive influence on her outlook.  “I’ve learned from them that if you’re doing something you love and providing care for other people, you’ll never just be doing a job. And to provide good care it’s essential you’re working in a place you really care about.”

“If I ever become a team leader I would want to be just like Heidi Buffoni, PACU associate clinical nurse manager. She has seen me grow from a student nurse into what I am today, supporting me throughout my whole journey. The care she has for her patients and staff is incredible – she continues to be a great role model for both me as a nurse and a leader.

“Jonele Woodhead, current medical inpatients nurse manager, has been a mentor for me when she was the Emergency Department educator. I find her so inspiring, she has such a passion for what she does.”

“Dawn Mulligan the practice manager at Mt Ruapehu, is a young leader who has been with me in the toughest nursing times I’ve had dealing with a mass casualty bus crash in 2018. She is another amazing example of the difference that a phenomenal leader can make.”

“These are three people I look up to and they have been influential to me because they all have a huge passion for what they do. When you’re around that it makes you want to do the best you can do for yourself and your patients.”

Alex’s mum, aunty and great aunty are also nurses. “My mother has a background in ICU, PACU and nursing educating. She works in recovery here and I’m lucky enough to sometimes work down there with her.” Aunty works in Outpatients and great aunty in Hamilton’s ICU.

What does a trauma clinical nurse specialist and Emergency Department flow coordinator do?
A trauma patient is someone who has suffered injury, minimal or life threatening, as a result of an event such as a car accident, recreational activities, sports or falls.

As a clinical nurse specialist for trauma Alex collects and reports all our trauma patients that are admitted to hospital to the Midlands trauma registry. She works with the Midlands Trauma Service (MTS) and our trauma director Murray Cox to ensure trauma patients receive the best trauma care regardless of when, where or what trauma occurred. MTS is the first regional trauma system in New Zealand and is a leader in trauma system development. Alex also works on trauma related projects, such as getting the Trauma Nursing Core Course run here by the end of the year.

In the role of ED flow coordinator Alex supports the coordinator, books patients’ beds on the wards, helps transfer them, keeps the flow of the department going and supports nursing staff on the floor. She also participates in teaching and education within ED, currently teaching the trauma aspect.

Always wanting to work in health, Alex went straight from school into a nursing degree at WITT. Since starting nursing at Taranaki DHB seven years ago, Alex has worked in the surgical day ward, post anaesthetic care unit, emergency department, and the patient at risk clinical nurse specialist team, before studying further in specialty areas of triage and trauma.

Where to next?
Alex starts an abbreviated injury scale and injury scoring course in July, designed for staff who are responsible for injury databases, ie entering our trauma cases into the Midlands regional trauma system.

She is also looking at post graduate study in leadership and management for quality healthcare.

Highlights of a dream job
A highlight of Alex’s career has been working on Mt Ruapehu over the last few winter seasons as a nurse in the urgent care clinics and being able to ski when there are no patients. It’s also been challenging and completely different being in a small, isolated workplace with minimal equipment. On her days off this year Alex is training the Mt Ruapehu urgent care clinic nursing staff before they start the season.

For Alex the best thing about being a nurse is that it’s interesting, especially working in the emergency department. “No days are the same, no patient is the same. You’re kept on your toes, and you get to make a real difference.”

“I believe in always doing things that you’re passionate about. I’m in my dream job. If you want something go get it!”


Last updated: Thursday, October 1, 2020

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