Nursing stars open up about their dream job and working with kids

Male nurse stands with a father and son, and two mothers and their sons, smiling at camera in a medical room
Pictured above: Nurse Anton with some patients and their parents from Children's Hospital documentary series. Pictured below: Nurse Nicole.
July 14, 2022

Being a nurse is a rewarding career but getting to work with our littlest patients in the bustling children’s emergency department (ED) at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) is the icing on the cake for Clinical Nurse Anton de Francesch and Registered Nurse Nicole Persichillo.

A day in the children’s ED for a nurse is always busy, caring for multiple patients, but it can also be fun and interactive. Most children present to the ED for illnesses that require immediate attention such as fevers, gastroenteritis and broken bones.

Audiences around the world will be able to witness the inner workings of the FSH children’s ED in Children’s Hospital, a new 8-part documentary television series, which is now airing on Channel 9 in Australia on Friday nights at 7.30pm.

We caught up with Anton and Nicole, who star in the series, to ask them about being a nurse and what it’s like to work with children in a busy ED.

Why did you want to be a nurse?

Anton: I initially didn’t want to be a nurse because a few of my friends teased me about it in high school. I initially decided I wanted to do psychology at university but before the deadline for enrolment, I broke my leg badly and needed to get an ambulance to the ED where I was admitted and had surgery the next day. Prior to this, I had never been in an ED or a hospital before, so I had a negative view on what nurses did. So, when I met so many great nurses and saw what their job involved, I swapped my university preferences that night to nursing.

Nicole: I have a very caring personality and I knew from a very young age I wanted to have a career that focused on helping people. I had also been in and out of hospital from a young age and I really appreciated how much nurses did for me, so I wanted to become a nurse and, in some way, to give back. I feel grateful to be able to have my dream job - it is exactly the right calling for my personality. I am always finding ways to help people. I simply love it.

What’s most enjoyable about being a nurse?A female nurse smiles at camera in a medical room

Anton: The patient interaction and making work friends. I really love interacting with people who have vastly different backgrounds and personalities. It’s really interesting to think of the role I have in patient’s lives, as most of the time it’s a scary and stressful time, and I am at the centre of it helping them. I have made some lifelong work friends, which are rare to find, and without nursing I would never have met them.

Nicole: The patients and families I get to meet. I love being able to offer support and care for patients when they are most at need. I find my calming nature has helped provide comfort to people at very scary times in the ED. I could list many favourite things about being a nurse, but for me it is always knowing how appreciated nurses are, it makes such a difference knowing how appreciated I am by not only who I work with but the patients around me.

What do you like about working with children?

Anton: Kids don’t communicate like adults. We can’t just ask them what’s wrong so it can be a challenge to try to find out what is wrong. Being a young nurse, parents are often anxious and might not always trust me to look after their child, but once we build rapport and trust, they are soon reassured that their child is in good hands and that is a great feeling.

Nicole: Their tiny but big personalities. I love meeting children at different milestones and seeing them express their emotions. Children are so vulnerable when they come to hospital, it’s a very scary and unfamiliar territory so I love being able to use my caring nature to create a bond that comforts them. I love being able to give them a positive experience and spend time engaging with them. I feel very positive around children and they tend to bring out my happier side. They are so small and cute, so it makes my job very easy!

Tune into Channel 9 at 7:30pm this Friday, 15 July 2022, to watch the fifth episode of Children’s Hospital where you will catch Anton caring for a teenage boy who is wheeled into the ED in a neck support after his bicycle wheelie ends disastrously.

You can also catch up and watch previous episodes on 9Now anytime, including last week’s episode where Nicole cares for a young Sikh girl who was transferred to FSH from Rottnest Island for surgery after crashing her bike on the island.

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