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Tess – Community Nurse

Image by Philip Bohle

In the world of aged care, few specialties are as crucial and impactful as nursing. Tess Bonde is a registered nurse who has made it her mission to use her expertise to serve the community with compassion. In community nursing there’s no such thing as a “normal” day.  Travelling to support people in their home means being adaptable, open to change and ready to address a diverse range of individual circumstances. In this story, we gain insight into Tess’s unique experiences, challenges, and the profound sense of purpose she finds in providing care to patients with stomas in the community.



Embracing Unity in the Community


When Tess initially embarked on her career in community nursing, she anticipated a potential sense of isolation and a solo journey in patient care. However, she was pleasantly surprised to discover a close-knit team of like-minded professionals working together to deliver exemplary care. In her team of registered and enrolled nurses, Tess found a support network that bolstered her efforts, enabling her to provide even better care to her patients. The spirit of unity within her team fostered a collaborative atmosphere, where knowledge-sharing and problem-solving became essential tools for tackling challenges effectively.

I always thought that getting into community nursing was going to be very isolating. But the team that I work with, we bounce off each other really well. And we always know that it doesn’t actually matter what kind of issue you have on the road, there’s always someone you can call on. And we’ve all got different experiences and we’ve all got different skills and we’re all very, very good at sharing that knowledge and sharing that with each other, which I think is really important.”


Inspiration that Drives Change

Tess’s interest in stoma care began when she discovered how few specialised stoma nurses there were in Tasmania. A stoma nurse looks after and advises patients with a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy before and after surgery. Seeing the opportunity to make a significant impact, she embarked on a journey to empower patients with stoma-related issues. From resolving skin issues to assisting patients to resume their favourite activities, Tess’s work serves as a source of inspiration for her, reinforcing her commitment to making a positive change in the lives of her patients.

One of the best parts of (this work), is being able to develop that long-term therapeutic relationship with people and get to know them properly. And then really advocate for what they need as well at home, where they want to be, for as long as it’s safe to keep them at home

A black and white photo shows two women. The woman on the left is old, sitting comfortably in a chair while the woman on the right kindly shows her how to use an iPhone.

Image by Philip Bohle

Navigating Realities with Care

While the rewards of stoma care nursing are many, Tess acknowledges the realities that come with it. She can face the daunting task of supporting patients who may resist help or remain stuck in repetitive behaviour patterns. These challenges can take a toll on her emotionally, but Tess has learned the importance of seeking support from her team and practising self-care. By taking care of her own mental well-being, she ensures she can continue to provide compassionate care to her patients, even in the face of adversity.

“We’ve got other responsibilities outside of work and so self-care is so important, to actually look after yourself and your own mental energy so you can keep going back and smiling.”


Integrity and Lifelong Learning

Tess’s unwavering commitment to integrity is clear in her dedication to continuous learning. Passionate about education, she actively seeks out opportunities to stay updated with the latest knowledge and advancements in stoma care. Whether attending conferences or participating in online training, Tess ensures she can offer her patients the best possible care. She believes in the power of knowledge-sharing within her team, creating a collaborative environment where everyone benefits from each other’s expertise.

“Everyone should knowledge-share, not just this sector and not just this organisation, but anywhere”.


Unleashing Full Potential

Tess’s work extends beyond patient care; it involves empowering her colleagues and new staff members. She relishes the opportunity to impart her knowledge, guiding and nurturing them to provide compassionate care. By fostering a culture of collaboration and support, Tess empowers her team to deliver care that goes above and beyond, making a strong impact on their patients’ lives.

One of the things I love so much is knowing that these little changes that I can make that in my mind are little, are so life changing for people“.

At the core of Tess’s journey lies the essence of service to others with dignity and empathy. Her work is not just focused on physical care; it centres on building long-term therapeutic relationships with her patients. Tess advocates tirelessly for her patients’ needs, ensuring they retain their sense of autonomy and choice throughout their healthcare journey.

Through team building, connection, and a commitment to lifelong learning, Tess sets an example for all healthcare professionals. Her dedication to providing dignified care, empowering others, and fostering a collaborative environment stands as an inspiration to those seeking a meaningful career in nursing. The impact Tess makes in the lives of her patients echoes the essence of genuine service to others, igniting a sense of purpose and hope in the hearts of all she touches.

Our sincere thanks to Tess for her contribution to the Work with Purpose. To find out more about working in aged care access an information guide here.

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