Westmead Hospital employee turned patient

Richard and Anja with their baby Oliver, who is six weeks old.

Westmead Hospital social worker Anja Fuda has seen a new side to her workplace, swapping her work gear for a hospital gown.

Anja visited the hospital’s emergency department last night after a blocked milk duct created an infection in her breast tissue. 

“As a patient you can feel helpless,” Anja said.

“You put all your trust in your clinicians and you can’t control anything.

“I’m used to being the expert in this situation but you go to the other side not knowing what’s going on, being unwell and being in pain.”

Anja will stay in hospital overnight for monitoring and is expected to be discharged tomorrow.

While she awaited treatment, Anja spoke to The Pulse about the joys of her role as a social worker.

Anja helps victims of domestic violence get back on their feet and reconnect with the community.

“Seeing people who are physically unwell and in emotional distress is hard. They don’t have anywhere to go, sometimes there no access to funds or support, and they’re really scared,” Anja said.

“Being able to really help them with their journey and connecting them to the community, offering them that emotional support that is the most rewarding part.

“I had this lady who came back a year and a half after I saw her and she said ‘I just want to tell you how I’ve been doing’.

“She’s been doing classes and workshops to improve her mental health and she said ‘I have all this confidence now, I’m my own person and I’m not in fear anymore’.

“To see someone who has made such a huge change in their lives is truly special.”

Anja’s partner Richard, who she met through soccer, sung praises for her role at Westmead.

“Some days I come home and I complain about how hot it was outside and that’s the worst thing about my day,” Richard said.

“The stuff Anja would see, hear and go through is amazing. As a landscaper I worry if the turf won’t grow, so I can’t imagine what I would do if my role was responsible for someone else’s life.

“My day has nothing on hers.”