Beloved Paediatrician from The Wesley Hospital Retires After 50 Years

Dr Bruce Lewis, beloved paediatrician, has cared for children at The Wesley Hospital for the last 50 years. Now it’s time to hang up his stethoscope for a much-deserved retirement.

The good doctor has been with The Wesley Hospital for 35 years but he started his career in Sydney in the 1970s after loving his paediatric work at the Blacktown Hospital. His distinguished career took him worldwide, including New Zealand and the United States where he completed his paediatric training. 

Before the birth of his second child, Dr Lewis returned to his hometown of Brisbane and set his sights on creating the Wesley Maternity Services and Special Care Unit. Since opening in January 1988, the world-class unit has welcomed tens of thousands of Brisbane babies into the world. 

“The unit has been designed with the utmost care for mothers and babies in mind, we have our Special Care Unit right next to the birth suites for babies born before term or those who need extra care,” Dr Lewis said.

“I am very proud of the service we have built, so much so we are seeing mothers who themselves were born here coming back to have their own babies.

“It’s been wonderful to watch the unit grow over 35 years and a joy and privilege to welcome babies into the world and see them grow over the years.” 

Dr Lewis said one of his fondest memories of the Wesley Maternity unit was seeing both his son and grandson born there. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

Mother, Nikki Rathbone welcomed triplets Tom, Isla and Louie on 13 July 2015 at just 32 weeks old, the babies stayed in the Special Care Unit under the watchful eye of Dr Lewis for seven weeks.

“The triplets are turning eight years old and absolutely thriving, I credit their good health to Dr Lewis who took such amazing care of them,” Nikki said.

Clinical Nurse Manager of The Wesley Hospital Paediatrics Ward Sonia Broadby said that Dr Lewis was like family and will be missed.

“He is an exceptional man who develops an instant rapport with children, you can see it in his face when he is interacting with a child, I believe this is what makes him an exceptional doctor,” Sonia said.

“We are very sad to see him go but we are so proud of the legacy he has left for our younger paediatricians to follow in.” 

Published 25 March 2023

Compassionate Care Volunteers Needed For Vulnerable Patients at The Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower

The Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower has launched a Vulnerable In-patient (VIP) Service and needs more Compassionate Care volunteers for patients at risk of loneliness, anxiety or require companionship for social engagement due to special needs. 

As part of the Compassionate Care team, these volunteers will receive extensive training from both the hospital’s Pastoral Care and clinical teams to provide high-quality clinical care and support the patient’s social and emotional needs during their stay at The Wesley Hospital.

Research has demonstrated that social engagement while in hospital has many benefits for patients including reduced behaviours, decreased length of stay and faster recovery. The vulnerability may look different for each patient and could be caused by a long hospital stay, significant distance from home and support networks, impaired mobility or increased stress and anxiety.  

The activities volunteers can do with patients vary but could include, conversations over a cup of tea, going for a walk in the gardens, doing a jigsaw puzzle, playing a board game or sharing a meal together. 

“While routines in hospital are focused on providing high-quality clinical care this environment can at times be disruptive and stressful, especially when a patient does not have a support network close to them,” The Wesley Hospital Chaplain Leanne Duncan said.

“We know that social engagement has many benefits for patients and is demonstrated to support recovery and reduce the length of stay in hospital. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

“We identify our vulnerable patients as those who may be in hospital for a long period of time, those who come from regional/remote areas, those with no family or friends close by and those with mobility or cognitive impairments.”

The service has been trialled on Nurse Unit Manager Kerrie Blocksidge’s ward which is comprised mostly of older patients.

“We absolutely love the VIP service here and it has made such a positive impact not only with our patients but our nursing staff as well,” Kerrie said.

“You can’t measure happiness but we certainly notice a change in our patients after they have had a visit from a volunteer, I believe it’s a wonderful initiative and we would welcome more volunteers to our ward any day.”

VIP Service Compassionate Care Volunteer Pauline said she jumped at the opportunity to make such a meaningful impact on the patients.

“This feeds my heart, I really enjoy spending time with these people, they get the opportunity to take their minds off their hospital stay and talk about something different,” Pauline said.

“Some of the patients live regionally or remotely and have limited support networks here in Brisbane, having a friendly face to chat with makes a huge impact. I love seeing them at the end of my visit far more animated than when I first walked in, I feel like I made a difference.”

The Wesley Hospital is seeking expressions of interest for Compassionate Companion volunteers to work alongside clinical staff, in four-hour shifts. 10am -2pm in various wards across the hospital. 

Published 18 March 2023