Pictured: Kristy McMurray, the Manager of VASS (left), with Yooralla customer and VASS resident Samantha.
As part of International Nurses Day on Sunday 12 May, we are profiling Kristy McMurray, the Manager of Yooralla’s Ventilator Accommodation Support Service (VASS).
VASS is a unique service that was purpose built for people dependent on mechanical ventilators who require high level 24-hour support. It is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and offers both residential and respite accommodation.
People reliant on a ventilator to breathe are one of the most medically vulnerable groups; ensuring that staff who support them have extensive health support experience and ongoing training is of paramount importance.
Before joining Yooralla in 2017, Kristy, who leads a team of highly skilled nurses at VASS, spent more than 13 years working as a Senior Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Tracheostomy Review and Management Service at the Austin Hospital.
To ensure the specialised training program requirements are delivered at the highest standard at VASS, Kristy began her role at Yooralla by recruiting a full time Nurse Educator to increase educational support provided for staff.
To ensure the wider nursing community had a good understanding about the unique model at VASS, Kristy organised for a resident to present to undergraduate nursing students at a university. The presentation was very well received and generated considerable interest in undergraduate nurses seeking future placement opportunities at VASS.
As part of the longer term plan to recruit more registered nurses to VASS, Kristy is currently working on a partnership with RMIT University to establish a nursing undergraduate student placement program at VASS.
Applying her nursing knowledge, Kristy also developed the comprehensive plan for a high complexity ventilator-dependent resident to safely move to VASS from Austin Health, where he lived in hospital for two years. With her extensive nursing background, she was able to effectively work with the hospital’s multidisciplinary team to ensure the resident had a holistic support plan in place before the move.
Kristy also ensures that residents are supported to attend key forums on tracheostomy to stay at the forefront of medical developments and best practice research.
We’d like to take this opportunity, as part of International Nurses Day, to recognise Kristy’s commitment, and also that of all Yooralla nurses, who work so hard every day in supporting our customers.