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Q&A with Mater’s first Townsville-based OptiSim Fellow – Rachael Corbett


Recently, Mater Education celebrated Healthcare Simulation Week (18-22 September) and professionals using simulation to improve the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery. 

Mater Education is the one of only three Affiliate Partners of the internationally renowned Harvard Center for Medical Simulation (CMS), and the only Australian Affiliate Partner. 

As a global leader in simulation, Mater provides innovative clinical education and professional development opportunities for Mater People and clinicians world-wide. 

In celebration of Healthcare Simulation Week, we sat down with Mater Private Hospital Townsville’s first OptiSim Fellow and Registered Anaesthetic Nurse Rachael Corbett, to chat about the fellowship and the role of simulation in improving clinical processes. 

How long have you worked at Mater? 

Almost 8 years.

What does your role involve? 

As an anaesthetic nurse, I assist the anaesthetist with care of patients under anaesthetic before and during their surgical procedure. My new role as OptiSim Fellow has me delving deep into the processes of the operating theatre and how we can improve these processes as a team, through the use of simulation.

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

OptiSim – the steep learning curve that I have been on to better understand theatre processes and how we can improve them. Techniques and skills in this area are unique, as are my skills as an anaesthetic nurse. Both these areas of nursing have complex challenges and having the technical and logical skills to work through them is exciting.

What are the challenges with your role? 

Also the steep learning curve! Taking in all the information. Much like anaesthesia, it might appear like the problem is simple to solve, but once you lift that rock, you realise there are many more factors that contribute to the solution.

Do you have a highlight from your time at Mater so far / what is a professional achievement you’re most proud of? 

My highlight would have to be my visit to America earlier this year, to observe and experience theatre in Indianapolis and visit the American Urology Conference in Chicago. A fellow colleague and I were fortunate enough to be invited by a local surgeon on his annual trip for an amazing two-week experience. 

What’s the best feedback/compliment you’ve ever received on your work—from a colleague or patient? 

From an anaesthetist – my ability to pre-empt and anticipate the situation and to react so quickly… It’s like you can read my mind!

What attracted you to working at Mater? 

The chance to further develop my skills. I began my nursing career with a small private facility, and Mater offered me the ability to still work within the private sector, but to progress my skills further.

Why were you interested in working in your chosen field? 

I have always been a person who wants to know ‘why?’, not just because that is the way it is. I am always looking at ways in my life to improve every day. So when the opportunity arose to do the same for a larger community, I was intrigued and excited to give it a go. I’m passionate about my patients and everything we do; we do to make their experience better. 

What is an interesting fact about you / do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?  

I had spinal surgery at the age of 15 for severe scoliosis and have rods along my whole thoracic spine, but I have not let it stop me. I am also a netball tragic. Live, breathe and sleep netball.

Are you working in the career you thought you’d be in when you were in high school?  

Not at all. I changed my path many times, starting with one degree, moving to other, and finally third time lucky, I found the one that felt right. From health, to computers, to banking and finally landing on a healthcare career.

What advice would you have for your younger self / what advice do you have for someone who’s starting out at Mater now? 

Where you start your career doesn’t have to be where you finish. 

Consider enhancing your skillset by exploring the professional development simulation opportunities available through Mater Education here.