Leading With Courage01 April 2022
When the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, essential health care workers like Kate Christensen took courageous steps onto the front line to help protect the community and save as many lives as possible.
A Registered Nurse and ADF veteran now working in the emergency department of the Gold Coast Hospital, Kate felt an overwhelming sense of duty to help her fellow Australians.
Making the difficult decision to leave their two young children in the care of her parents, Kate and her husband (a GP and former Army medical officer) worked full-time in Brisbane as part of the medical response to the pandemic. It was four months before the couple moved home with their children again.
“I returned from maternity leave early due to the situation that was emerging. I felt a duty to return to work and use the skills I had learned during my time in nursing and with the Army to give back to the community.”
Kate worked in the emergency department as they prepared for the patient numbers to increase as COVID-19 landed in Australia.
“It was important that I be able to help those who would need it the most. My team and I rehearsed, studied, and spent many hours upskilling. We changed our models of care almost daily as we navigated the imminent arrival of the COVID-19. We equipped ourselves to treat the sickest of the sick.
“Together as mates and colleagues we showed up every day. We came together to serve our community and look after our mates, families and neighbours.”
BUILDING TO THIS MOMENT
Kate served as a nursing officer with the Australian Army for eight years.
“My first posting was to the 8 Close Health Company in Robertson Barracks, Darwin, providing tactical health support for units, combat first aid training, and garrison health support for all Army personnel,” she explains.
“We supported soldiers preparing for deployment overseas, and I worked in the local emergency department and critical care to keep my nursing skills current.”
Kate believes the skills she lived and breathed in the Army were a daily exercise in developing resilience and courage.
“We learned to be quite resilient, and how to be robust in adapting to change and the unknown. We learned to have the courage to remain mentally and physically tough and how to work together on a common goal. Every day was an example of learning to adapt to a changing state of play.”
COURAGE AS AN ANZAC SPIRIT
“Courage, for me, is having the resilience to show up, and keep coming back every day in spite of adversity and fear of the unknown. We’ve operated for a long time not knowing what might change with the pandemic rules and standards of care – often on a daily basis.”
For Kate, ANZAC Day is a moment of quiet reflection and a chance to show her children the importance of the day.
“We attend a Dawn Service with our children every year before coming home to make our own version of a gunfire breakfast,” she shares.
“The day is also an opportunity for me to check in on work colleagues, former and current serving friends, too.
“We are all in some way influenced by the ANZAC spirit. When we show up to help during natural disasters, volunteer our time or use our finances to support our neighbours and mates, we are showing the ANZAC spirit.”
COMMEMORATE YOUR WAY ON ANZAC DAY
The ANZAC spirit lives on in us all, and on 25 April we invite you to commemorate in a way that is meaningful to you. On ANZAC Day, you can attend an RSL service, light up the dawn at home, participate online, or take the opportunity to connect with your local community.