A personal connection sparked her passion for workplace health safety, and thanks to her EMF 2017 staff scholarship, Tracy is in the role she’s “always wanted”.
In a bustling hospital like Epworth Richmond, Tracy Brennan is kept busy as the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Advisor. She makes sure every team is protected from safety issues as they support patient care. And there’s lots to consider in the essential running of a hospital – everything from heavy lifting to chemicals, fire hazards and gases.
As we say, caring for a patient, starts with caring for ourselves.
Working at Epworth for over 20 years
Tracy started as a nurse at Epworth in 2000, and was inspired to switch careers to safety, after seeing how it could affect people’s lives.
“Having a husband with a workplace injury, and knowing the impact it has not just on him, but myself and my family, it really made me stop and think about a lot of things,” Tracy says.
She completed a Cert 4 in OHS and loved it. The next step was to complete a Diploma in Work Health and Safety, but it didn’t seem possible.
“I thought, I can't do it, because money was tight,” Tracy says. “I was the sole income earner in the family because hubby had a workplace injury and he wasn't working.”
Not wanting to give up, she explored the idea of applying for an Epworth Medical Foundation staff scholarship in 2017.
After a carefully-considered application, Tracy was successful! Two nights a week, she studied hard to complete her diploma, eager to see how it could help in her new career at Epworth.
“I wouldn't have been able to do the diploma it if I did not get that scholarship,” Tracy says.
Now five years later, Tracy says her current role in safety is the one she’s “aways wanted” – with the scholarship and diploma opening the door for her.
A day with ‘Tracy from safety’
You might spot her carefully inspecting across Epworth Richmond, or with a smile to staff, asking what has become a catchphrase: It’s Tracy from safety, do you need anything?
“All the skills I attained in that course, I’m actually putting into practice now,” Tracy says.
A typical day could start by helping a nurse find the safest way to do a new task, and end with a mock fire drill to ensure kitchen staff are prepared in emergencies.
She is excited to stay at Epworth in the future – and is still motivated by her experience of how a single safety issue can affect the rest of your life.
“Even now, it’s hoping that no one goes through what myself and my family have gone through.”
“It's important because we want everyone to go home uninjured and not in pain.”