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Merrigong Talking Point – First responders in the time of COVID

Sat 15 May

Who cares for our carers?

A conversation with Louise Murphy and Dr. Jennifer Dancer

Facilitator: Rose Maher

In a medical emergency, a patient will see a number of clinicians over the course of their timeline at the hospital. From the triage nurse, to the attending doctor and the wards person. However what is going on in their world, and if things fall apart how does this affect their ability to care for their patients?

Now add an international pandemic to this picture. Consider the pressure to keep patients and staff safe during this period, consider the new procedures which need to be implemented that may create further obstacles for what might otherwise be more straightforward care.

Healthcare is a complex ecosystem. In this insightful discussion, Rose Maher will discuss with nurse practitioner Louise Murphy and psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Dancer about who cares for our carers. What are the civic responsibilities to our first responders and clinicians in a time of great stress, when they are so exhausted looking after the collective ‘us’?

This Merrigong Talking Point accompanies the performance of Grace Under Pressure.

Pictured: Louise Murphy, Dr. Louise Murphy & Rose Maher

Louise Murphy

Louise Murphy is a Nurse Practitioner who has worked in the public health system, correctional facilities, the Australian Defence Force and with St John’s Ambulance. Louise is currently the Principal Nurse Educator (Mental Health Services) at the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District supporting bushfire and suicide impacted individuals and communities. With over a decade of work with first aid, psychological first aid and positive psychology training, Louise recently founded the Australian First Responder Foundation, a charitable organisation that supports the mental health and wellbeing of our emergency first responders.

Dr. Jennifer Dancer

Jennifer grew up in regional NSW. After moving to Sydney she studied medicine at UNSW . She interned at Westmead. She worked in England in mental health before surviving training as a psychiatrist in Brisbane, and escaping to the beach in Wollongong. Along the way she had three children. After working part time , she worked in a mixture of public and private practice. Over the last few years she has dedicated herself to a private practice specialising in psychotherapy, attachment, trauma, workplace trauma in colleagues and perinatal psychiatry. She is passionate about growing Physician and health care worker wellness.

Having done placements in over 20 different hospitals, she has seen multiple system failures, and the impact upon employees when management is done well.

Rose Maher

Originally from Canberra, Rose Maher is an Illawara based actor, performance maker, teaching artist and producer. Rose began her training in Creative Arts (Theatre & Performance) at the University of Wollongong graduating with honours in 2012. Energised and inspired by training processes and how actors learn to bring life on stage Rose has continued training notably with the Shakespeare & Company (Massachusetts) and Ecole Philippe Gaulier (France). Professional credits include Let Me Know When You Get Home (2020), Grace Under Pressure (2017), The Big Think Festival and a national tour of Quite Faith (2018). Rose has practiced in residencies with Shopfront Theatre and most recently a Digital Artist Residency with Merrigong Theatre & Performing Lines where Rose laid the foundations of a solo performance. Rose is stoked to be continuing the development of this work as part of MERRIGONGX 2021. Rose was a recipient of the Ian Potter Culture Trust grant (2018) which took her to France and lead to employment with Ministry of Education delivering English language shows to maternelle students. While in Europe, Rose joined The Wonder Jam at the Edinburgh Fringe, and the international clown collective The Lost Cabaret producing late-night cabaret shows in Paris. The team continued online during lockdown to audiences in Australia, London and Paris.  

Coming Up…