“Keep Calm and Nurse On”

Emergency workers, including nurses and midwives, were invited to take part in the Police Games this year. A number of members took up the challenge to join the 43 sporting events that make up the games, now called the NSW Police and Emergency Services Games.

The sporting event, which ranged from soccer and surfing to a half marathon, was held in October in Wollongong, with the equestrian events held in Camden. 

Justice nurses had a ball

Sev Yenyil, an after hours nurse manager at Justice Health, organised nurses from correctional 
centres and youth justice centres to field a softball team.

“My husband is a policeman, so I’ve got a soft spot for the police operations,” Sev told The Lamp. 
“I thought, this is a great opportunity, because often the nurses 
aren’t regarded as being in the emergency services.”

“There were six nurses on 
our team all up. We filled the team with seven men who were in the fitness industry and one who was a police officer.

 “It was a fun day and most people didn’t know each other on our team and it was like we were long lost friends. The sportsmanship was fantastic. I lost my voice from shouting and laughing, it was very, very comical.”

As the statewide after hours nurse manager, Sev oversees clinical operational matters within NSW correctional centres and youth justice centres, supporting nursing staff from her office at Long Bay Correctional Centre.

“I hadn’t met two of the nurses on the team from Justice Health, because I always talk to them over the phone about matters and patients and emergencies. It was a good opportunity to get on the field and have fun. At work they are talking to me as a boss, but we were working together as a team.”

Sev describes the day as a contrast to her often stressful work environment. “You get so many phone calls that you need to prioritise, and [playing softball] – the only thing we prioritised was the running home to home base.” 

Sev and nurses from justice health and the forensic mental network were joined by Sandy Cryer, a nurse at the Sydney Adventist Hospital, and her husband, both softball players.

“They basically orientated the rest of the team who hadn’t played softball for years. The first game we were rusty and the second, third and fourth game we gave it our best and we gave them a run for their money.”

She is looking forward to joining the competition again in 2020. “Next year is going to be the Australasian games and I have already prepped the team. Our team name was Keep Calm and Nurse On. The problem is that we only had six nurses, so someone suggested we call ourselves Twisted Sisters and Misters.”

“If anyone is interested in participating, they can let us know.”

Back in the saddle

First year nursing student Penelope McMillan grew up riding horses in the south coast coastal township of Nunbaa. “I’ve been riding since I was very, very little, pretty much since I could walk, and then I stopped when I did my HSC to focus on my studies.”

“I picked it up again for the games, especially since the first-year nurses and midwives students are being invited,” says Penelope, who has competed at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and state interschool championships.

She will be riding Jedlea, a thoroughbred ex racehorse, in the dressage event. “When the games came up a friend offered me Jedlea. I’ve ridden him for a few years on and off, so I’ve just got that connection with him.”

After completing her Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Wollongong, Penelope hopes to continue her studies in paramedicine. “I’d like to do some first response work, so I’d like to do paramedicine after I’ve finished my degree.”

“I’ve gone through a few things in my life that made me want to help other people and make a difference I’ve gone through health issues with family members. And I went to a music festival once and I watched a girl get carried out and she ended up passing away in hospital. She was the same age as me. That really stuck with me.

“So I’m a really passionate about mental health and trying to make even a small difference in other people’s lives. It only takes one person to make a big difference.”

Penelope is looking forward to competing at the games, with her event scheduled for the weekend after The Lamp went to press. “I think because obviously everyone has got a passion for sport, but obviously you’ve also got that background in first response or nursing or police, sharing the love of the sport.

“Just being in the environment with like-minded people and where I want to go in my degree – I’m definitely looking forward to getting out there and competing.”

Join in the fun

If you’re interested in participating in the 2020 Australasian Games, register at apandesgames.com.au.