‘Preserving Westmead Hospital’s history’: Meet one of Westmead Hospital’s AR tour guides, Linda Mulheron

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Westmead Hospital is launching Australia’s first Augmented Reality (AR) hospital tour, as part of the hospital’s 45th birthday celebrations.

The exclusive tours, called ‘Past meets future’ will take place on Friday 17 November and Friday 24 November. They will showcase the history of Westmead Hospital through archival footage, documents, photographs and written historical information; combined with interactive design constructions of operating tables and other medical tools.

The Pulse has spoken with several of the esteemed members of the Westmead Hospital community who will be guiding these free tours for the community and staff.

Click here for more information about the tour, or reserve your place here.

Introducing Linda Mulheron, Manager Library Information & Resources at Westmead Hospital.

Can you share a bit about your journey and experience working at Westmead Hospital?

I started work here in my current position in March 1986 and set about computerising our catalog, marketing our services and facilitating services to advance education and research within the then Directorate of Teaching and Research Resources. To assist clinicians in providing the best evidence-based information for patient care, we first implemented Medline on CD-ROM in the 1980s, went live with the first hospital-based library management system in NSW in 1993, and upgraded our training to end-users so they could also search databases and other eResources, including CIAP, ClinicalKey, Cochrane, etc., themselves.

Why are you excited about taking on the role of a tour guide for the hospital’s ‘Past meets future’ 45th-anniversary celebration?

Having worked at Westmead Hospital for a long period, I have experienced many changes and growth and love to highlight both the wonderful work that takes place in this hospital, which is a mini-city in itself. I am also involved in preserving information on Westmead Hospital’s history and maintain a historical collection within the library that helps ensure our history is not lost.

In your opinion, what makes Westmead Hospital a special place to showcase through a tour?

Visitors to Westmead Hospital are primarily coming to visit sick patients, for personal medical attention or to welcome a new bub, so it is a great opportunity to showcase what else goes on in our hospital. Current staff will also learn more about many areas they may not be familiar with when they have mainly worked within specific departments. It gives a greater appreciation of all those working in the hospital contributing to the care of our patients.

Are there specific areas or aspects of Westmead Hospital that you find particularly fascinating and are eager to share with visitors?

In the main part of Westmead Hospital, the Dental School and Institute Of Clinical Pathology And Medical Research (ICPMR) blocks have a lot of history, as ICPMR was among the first departments relocated to the Westmead Hospital site. Obviously, the updated facilities in what we call ‘H Block’, including the Library and the Westmead Education and Conference Centre, are also favorites. The operating suites, older wards where I gave birth to my daughter, and the Older Persons Review and Assessment (OPERA) wards where wonderful care was given to my mum are other personal favorites too. The new ‘K Block’ also has many new and unique features and is really innovative in the way emergency services for adults and children are provided within the same building.

What are a few key points of interest that you believe will leave a lasting impression on those taking the tour?

Operating rooms, research innovations, and women’s health are some of the areas visitors will be most interested in hearing about, as well as some statistics on how many patients are treated here. Also, the vastness of Westmead Hospital and appreciation of all the different departments working together will be highlighted.

Why do you think it’s essential to showcase the history of Westmead Hospital as part of the 45th-anniversary celebration?

I am an historian at heart, and I love working and promoting Westmead Hospital and its services, and have previously been involved in many of Westmead Hospital’s earlier birthday celebrations. Since COVID-19 caused many events and activities to be cancelled, it is great that, five years since I was involved in the 40th birthday celebrations, we are celebrating another milestone.

To find out how to book your place on the tour click here.