TriCare is really proud of its team. We know that no matter what happens in their day, that our residents always come first. It’s why we confidently say ‘relax, you’re in good hands with us’.
We are so committed to our team that we want you to get to know them too, which is why we have introduced our ‘Who is TriCare?’ series. We are going to ask our staff to tell you in their own words about their work, their passions and their vision for creating good lives for their residents, starting with Suzanne Norambuena, Manager of our Mermaid Beach Residence.
Who is Suzanne Norembuena?
I am the Manager of TriCare’s Mermaid Beach aged care residence which just so happens to be located within the heart of Queensland’s spectacular Gold Coast. We have some stunning views!
I lead a really diverse team of professionals who work together to provide care and services to 81 residential aged care residents.
I have worked in aged care for the past 16 years and have never regretted leaving acute care nursing in all of that time. I am also a busy mum and have, like everyone, the same issues with juggling family life, but I think it’s this, that helps me to understand what my residents have experienced and what their family members are experiencing when they come to speak with us about accommodation for their parent or family member.
How do you get to know your residents?
That’s easy. I spend time with them. I like to walk around the facility each day and see how everyone is getting on and to check on residents who may be unwell or who have recently returned from hospital. More often than not I end up being invited into resident’s rooms for a chat and this is when I really get to know them as a person rather than a set of clinical conditions. It is so easy to get caught up in the functional aspects of our role, that the person can get forgotten. That’s why I believe it’s important to spend time with people, have a conversation and get a better perspective on who they are. I cannot tell you how many times this approach has actually led to us resolving problems for our residents. Particularly in understanding where some behaviours come from and how we can support that resident.
I am also about to introduce a fortnightly ‘Lunch with the Manager’, where I will share a meal with a small group of different residents each fortnight. My aim is to strengthen relationships while giving our residents a safe place to tell me about things that may be bothering them or to hear their suggestions about how we can improve on what we are doing.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned during your career in aged care?
One size does most definitely not fit all! Everyone has their own story and it takes time to get to know and understand that story. Some people will be quick to tell you about themselves and others need some time. I have learned to respect and understand the differences that make us all unique.
What goal or task are you working on right now?
We are very fortunate that many of our staff have been with us here at Mermaid Beach for a very long time. This means we really have become a family of sorts, that cares for and looks out for each other as well as caring for and looking out for our residents. I really appreciate that my team works this way and I am keen to ensure that we preserve the bond between our staff and between our staff and our residents. To that end I am working on some strategies that will help us keep true to this essence… stay tuned!
What has been the strongest influence on how you approach your work? Has it been a past mentor, a general life philosophy, personal experience or something else?
I just don’t over think things. I like to just be kind, as clichéd as that sounds, its simple kindness that influences what I do and how I do it. You never know what sort of day someone is having but what we do all know is how much it means for someone to give you a smile, have a positive attitude and make themselves available to you both physically and emotionally. In the end it’s just a simple premise of treating others the same way you would want to be treated yourself.