Westmead Hospital’s haematology and bone marrow transplant ward Nurse, Michael Beer, knows how to caringly flip the serious into the light-hearted.
Known by staff, patients and visitors for his amusing yet educational whiteboard art and songs, Michael loves to bring cheer, even in the hardest of times, and rally behind his patients.
Last month, Michael participated in the World’s Greatest Shave for the third time. Not only did he raise $3,484.80, but his comical cartoons and quirky tunes in promotion of the shave provided great entertainment – as did his bright purple hair.
“Purple is the colour often used to designate chemotherapy, which is why I went with the bright purple do,” said Michael.
“I also like that my patients get a kick out of it – I nearly got a patient to spit chunks when she laughed so hard after seeing my hair.”
On the big day, 15 nurses, one patient and one doctor took it in turns to shave Michael’s head, making it team effort with all “very willing to cause me pain”, said Michael in jest.
Although this is last time Michael will be participating in the greatest shave due to a hairline that is “getting higher every year”, he won’t be retiring the whiteboard marker anytime soon.
Michael has worked on Ward C5A since 2007 where whiteboards are a common source of communication.
What started with a safety message for the nurses about the risk of falls has turned into an opportunity to “put a funny spin on any of our educational messages”, he said.
“My favourite creations so far would have to be ‘Corona Lisa’, my stacked Russian doll design and all of my song lyrics,” said Michael.
“I don’t have a favourite topic I like to cover, but bowel care and falls prevention are the two I cover the most.”