‘Avoid regrets because life can change at any minute’ – Intensive care nurse

Aaron Chan is a registered nurse at Westmead Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Westmead Hospital registered nurse Aaron Chan has shed light on the role of critical care nursing in one of the largest intensive care services in Australia.

Intensive care requires a very high level of medical and nursing support for patients who require life support through machines and medicine.

While this area of medicine can be emotionally heavy on patients, families and staff, Aaron said it was an honour to look after someone at their worst.

“I have learnt that some people are dealt a more difficult hand than others,” Aaron said.

“No matter what, we are there for people in these times. It’s hard, but I like it.

“Looking after patients who are hanging on to life can be tense but I’m glad I can be there for families so that we can make a difficult time a little easier,” Aaron said.

Patients in the intensive care unit require life support because they cannot breathe by themselves or their heart can’t pump on its own for a variety of reasons.

“My job gives me the opportunity to hold someone’s hand when they’re really sick or dying.

“Looking after someone at their worst is special.”

Aaron said that over time he has learnt to cope when someone passes away.

“Every time you feel the loss for the family. I don’t debrief to my family and friends but I lean on my colleagues and find ways to clear my mind.

“I don’t really have a punch line here, but I think people should avoid regrets. People who come into this unit didn’t know they’d end up here that day.

“Life can change at any minute. That’s what working in here showed me.”