Briony Van Galen

Clinical Nurse Educator, Acute Stroke Unit 

Prince of Wales Hospital

“I wanted a career where there is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges and you really get that in nursing.

We had a stroke patient who had a further stroke on the ward. He came back from the Intensive Care Unit with a tracheostomy, so he was much less functioning than when he first presented. We were building quite a rapport with him and his wife and the day came when he was allowed to use a speaking valve on his trachy. It was a momentous day. The nurses were all crowded around and the speech pathologist finally let him say a few words.  His first words were ‘I love you’ to his wife. It was so beautiful and we were all in tears. I guess that shows how something little like that spurs us on as stroke nurses.

People often say to me ‘I don’t know how you can work in stroke, it’s so depressing’. Those little things make it worthwhile.”