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Home // Blogs // Careers at Peninsula Health Blog // Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Melissa Molenaar

Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Melissa Molenaar

Melissa Molenaar is a Cognition Clinical Nurse Consultant at Peninsula Health.

Q: What is a Clinical Nurse Consultant?

A: A Clinical Nurse Consultant is a nurse who has specialist knowledge and skills in their particular field and can be utilised as a resource within the clinical setting by staff, patients and carers. In my case I have a post graduate qualification in gerontology and a particular interest in working with people with dementia and delirium. In my 15 years of nursing, I’ve worked predominantly with the older population and find it very rewarding and challenging.

Q: How long have you been in the role?

A: I am coming up to my eighth year at Peninsula Health which has been predominantly working part time in this role.

Q: What drew you to this job?

A: I started in this role when my eldest daughter was turning one. It was part time and close to home, which was attractive compared to my previous management role in an inner city Hospital which I could work 40+ hrs a week. I have always been drawn to work with the older population as it is not usually popular and often undervalued by a lot of my peers. I enjoy working with people living with dementia and helping others try and put the puzzle of someone’s life together. My favourite part is getting to know people’s story’s and using that to try and maximise their quality of life for the reality they are living now.

Q: What do you love about the role?

A: I enjoy being challenged and feeling like I can make a change. I believe working within this role is definitely a challenge. On the Peninsula we have one of the oldest populations in the state, so our patient demographics indicate we are going to see patients with diseases  such as dementia. The greatest risk factor for dementia is age. These patients often have multiple health issues and as a result are susceptible to illnesses which can cause an acute episode of confusion known as delirium. A lot of my current work is supporting  patients, carers and staff to manage delirium in a timely fashion to minimise harm. I also love working with staff and carers in providing education, this is sometimes the most rewarding part, passing on my knowledge and seeing it being used in a positive way.

Q: What advice would you give someone thinking about embarking on this career?

Give it a go! Come and say hello or call for a chat. I didn’t think I was qualified for this job when I started but I’m still here and surprise myself with what I can still add to the role. Having a base understanding of the brain and behaviour is needed and an ability to communicate well with others. If you love a challenge and enjoy working with a multidisciplinary team then this is a job for you!

Find out how you can work alongside Melissa in providing quality and specialised care as one of our Cognition Clinical Nurse Consultants