Nurses see damage of road crashes

Colac Area Health’s emergency department nurses Karen Anderson, left, and Narelle Andrews see the aftermath of road accidents.

COLAC’S emergency department nurses understand the impact of road accidents.

Colac Area Health urgent care unit manager Karen Anderson said nurses saw the far-reaching effects of road trauma.

“Patients with really serious injuries are flown to Melbourne, but we see a wide range of injuries like lacerations, fractures, neck and back pain as well as shock,” Ms Anderson said.

“And it doesn’t stop at emergency, they may have to stay in hospital which means they’re not able to work, which can impact on them financially or their recovery might be longer than they expect,” she said.

“There can also be acquired brain injury or altered personality where a car crash victim recovers but they’re not the same.”

CAH registered nurse Narelle Andrews said victims of car accidents were often in emotional shock hours after a crash.

“We sit them down and give them a cup of tea and calm them down,” Ms Andrews said.

“We have to get in contact with their family and if they’re not from around here we may have to find them a place to stay if they can’t drive home,” she said.

“We get a lot of international tourists who’ve been in accidents coming back from the Great Ocean Road, so sometimes there can be a language barrier but we make them feel comfortable.”

Ms Andrews said treating road accident victims strengthened her support for road safety campaigns.

“I think nurses who see what a car crash can do would then go home with that message in their heads about how important it is for everyone to drive carefully,” she said.

“And everyone knows each other in Colac so you see how one accident can affect so many people.”

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