EXCITED TO START: Clinical nurse consultant in paediatrics Becky Halsall with nurse Miriam Head at the SCUH emergency department.
EXCITED TO START: Clinical nurse consultant in paediatrics Becky Halsall with nurse Miriam Head at the SCUH emergency department. Warren Lynam

Sick kids and their families are winners, says nurse

THE opportunity to work at the country's newest, state-of-the-art hospital was not something Becky Halsall was going to pass up.

Mrs Halsall was living in Sydney with her husband Glen Meier and five-year-old son Jenson Meier when she applied for her role as clinical nurse consultant at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital emergency department's paediatrics unit.

She and her family moved to Buderim in January ahead of the emergency department opening its doors on March 28.

Jenson now goes to Buderim Mountain State School and while Mr Meier still commutes to Sydney for work, she said the family is settling in and wants to remain as long-term Coast residents.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Mrs Halsall has been in Australia for 10 years and finds the Coast "absolutely stunning".

"The lifestyle is beautiful," she said. "We have family here - I'm passionate about the Coast and just love this area.

"When I heard they were building this amazing hospital...(it) was a no-brainer for me really.

"One of my career goals was to be a clinical nurse consultant for paediatrics within a mixed department."

The hospital emergency department's paediatrics unit will expand services for children currently on offer on the Coast, in areas including developmental paediatrics where expanded rehabilitation will be available.

It means fewer Coast families with sick kids will have to travel to Brisbane, says Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kevin Hegarty.

He said his organisation had doubled the number of jobs it provided on the Coast and in Gympie since 2004, with more than 6049 staff now on the service's payroll.

Mr Hegarty said it had not been difficult to attract staff to the new hospital.

"The only ones we've had trouble attracting are those where there have been international shortages - and even in those we're recruiting successfully.

"The other thing that's been very effective for us is our own staff talking and using the established networks to let people know it's a good place to work."

Staff "fingerprints" were all over the new hospital's design and the plans for how it would operate, with employee engagement a key part of the planning process, he said.

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