Christmases on Clancy Ward

28 November 2023 | Expected time to read: 4 minutes

Allyson and two nurse colleagues in Christmas scrubs

With the Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation Christmas Appeal encouraging communities to help give sick kids the brightest Christmas possible, we wanted to shift our focus to those who help give sick kids the brightest Christmas possible year after year.  

Nurses like Allyson care for these kids every holiday period and try to make the day as special as it would be at home. 

I find it quite rewarding being around for the families on Christmas on the ward. A lot of the time, the patients that are on the ward at Christmas are long-term patients that we couldn't get home by Christmas, or kids that had just come in unwell or maybe had a recent injury and it wasn't safe to get them home for Christmas,” explained Allyson.  

Allyson has worked eight of the last nine Christmas Days on Clancy Ward at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. Allyson says working Christmas is quite special because most of the people working want to be there to support the patients and their families.  

“We try to make it special for the patients, but also ourselves because we're sacrificing time away from our family, but I think that ultimately it comes down to the patients and their family.” 

Allyson spoke fondly about Christmas traditions amongst the staff on Clancy Ward.  

“We try and have a bit of a Christmas celebration. Usually the beginning of December, when the roster comes out, we'll divvy up what food we'll bring in to share with everyone and kind of have our own Christmas celebration together... and kind of be each other's family for the day.” 

Over her many Christmases working on Clancy Ward, Allyson remembers one in particular that really speaks to the giving spirits of all the nurses working across Sydney Children's Hospitals Network during the time of family, friends and good cheer.  

“One year I worked the night shift, so Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, and it was a busy shift, but we made it a priority to get all the presents ready for  the kids on the ward so that they would still feel that joy when they woke up, even though they were in hospital. We even managed to write little letters from Santa to the kids.” 

Allyson patting a dog in her ward

Other staff within Sydney Children's Hospitals Network like Social Workers at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, extend the Christmas cheer by organising a hamper collection. Each ward will bring in items for the hampers, such as treats and non-perishable food items, and social work make them into Christmas Hampers for any families who have to attend the hospital last minute around Christmas Day.  

“It's just a nice gesture for those families who have been caught out unexpectedly, so they know that they've been thought of in such a difficult time for them but a joyous time for everyone else.” 

As part of Clancy Ward, Allyson has also been involved in Leaping Livers, a community fundraiser supported by Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation, raising funds for patients with liver disease who require ongoing care and potentially liver transplants.  

“Fundraising definitely makes things easier in a way. We're always eternally grateful for any funds that we receive from families and people that don't have anything to do with our hospital. Because of them, we've been able to better the outcomes for our patients or even support our patients in a difficult time.” 

Equipment purchased for Clancy Ward through fundraising has included an ECG Machine and a portable baby bath, making patient care easier for those who are acutely ill, infectious, or attached to monitors and machines and unable to get to the common shared bathroom for the ward.  

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Allyson in scrubs and wearing reindeer and flower headband

Allyson wants the community who give generously this Christmas for Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation Christmas Appeal, to know it’s appreciated 

"Overall, the money that they're donating is going directly into the hospital - benefiting the patients and making things just a little bit easier for families who do have to, unfortunately, spend a long time here with their children, particularly the ones that may not be able to get home for Christmas.” 

“Your donations will help patients and families in a long way to be able to provide some normality when they do eventually get home.” 

To find out more about Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation Christmas Appeal, or donate, visit www.schf.org.au/xmas23 

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