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Burns Unit team

  • Mr Warwick Teague, Mr Tom Clarnette and Ms Monique Bertinetti - Paediatric General Surgeons 

    Ms Sian Fairbank -  Paediatric Plastic Surgeon

    Danielle Nizzero -  Paediatric Plastic Surgeon

    Patrick Mahar - Dermatology Consultant

    Job Description

    Paediatric general surgeons and plastic surgeons who specialise in the immediate and ongoing surgical management of burns injuries. The surgeons are supported by both a Resident and Registrar. Dermatologists at RCH use a variety of laser-based treatments to try and help with the appearance and softness of burn related scars.


    Ashan Fernando - Burns Fellow

    Kathy Bicknell - Clinical Nurse Consultant

    Job Description

    To coordinate inpatient/outpatient care for burns patients. Provide education to patients, families, nursing, medical and allied health internally and externally and in the community. Involved in developing prevention strategies, audits and research.

    Natalie Westcott - Unit Manager Platypus Ward

    Job Description

    Unit Manager of Platypus Ward - Plastics/Burns/General Surgical/Orthopaedic Unit.

    Marie Groutas - Phelan and Alicia Waters - Clinical Support Nurses

    Job Description

    Support person for all staff to ultise. Facilitates competence among staff and orientates and support's new staff to Platypus Ward.

    Kellie Smith and Kate Glassford - Platypus Nurse Coordinator

    Job Description

    To co-ordinate the in patient care, discharge, and home management of major burns patients (greater than 10%). This is achieved by liaising closely with all the burn's team, the patient and their family.

    Clinical Nurse Burns Outpatients

    Job Description

    Performs dressing changes and other appropriate care in the outpatient setting. Triage of patient referrals

    Alison Baillie and Grace Jury - Social Workers

    Job Description

    Social workers provide counselling and other services that may be needed when a child has a physical and/or emotional health problem or disability. Some of the ways they help are:

    • Supporting people during periods of crisis
    • Offering individual counselling for children, teenagers and young adult patients
    • Short term counselling for parents, couples and families
    • Locating community resources and support groups
    • Assisting communication with health care providers

    Representing patients and families within the hospital to outside agencies

    • Referral to specialist counselors
    • Providing relevant information and education about family issues and child health.

    Aboriginal Family Support Service is also available for families.

    Ioanna Coutsouvelis - Occupational Therapist

    Job Description

    The role of the occupational therapist in the acute stage of care is responsible for the assessment and treatment of the hands and wrists. This may involve the use of thermoplastic splints and the implementation of regular exercise programs.  As the child becomes more medically stable, scar management and anti-deformity strategies may be necessary. These strategies include use of: soft splints such as compression gloves and gauntlets; thermoplastic splints; taping; and utilisation of silicon products.

    The overall aim of the occupational therapy invention, within the burns unit, is to achieve functional performance of relevant activities of daily living. 

    Nicole Alexander - Physiotherapist

    Job Description

    The physiotherapist in the burns team is involved in patient care throughout the inpatient admission. The role of the physiotherapist varies depending on what stage post injury the patient is at during the inpatient stay. In the acute phase, the physiotherapist provides respiratory care, splinting, guidance regarding positioning and early rehabilitation. The aims of treatment are to prevent skin and muscle contractures particularly over the joints in the body.

    In the subacute and long term phase of recovery the role of the physiotherapist includes rehabilitation with the aim to achieve functional independence and return to daily activities. The physiotherapist is also responsible for long term scar management with the use of splints, customised pressure garments and the use of contact media such as silicone products to address hypertrophic and problematic scarring. Physiotherapy is also important adjunct to care after reconstructive procedures to assist with scar management and regain joint range of motion and function.     

    Jennifer Flanagan - Dietitian

    Job Description

    Nutritional assessment and management of patients with burn injuries

    Jessica Tascone and Frances Piccolo - Child Life Therapists

    Job Description

    Provides "normalising" and developmental play activities for burns patients whilst in hospital and in the outpatient setting, to help make hospitalisation a more positive experience. Develops understanding and coping skills with the child through the use of medical and lay activities, as well as the support for the child during procedures. These include burns baths and dressing changes by providing alternative focus and divisional play.


    Job Description

    Early and continued management of the burns scar to prevent contractures and scar hypertrophies. A combination of static and/or dynamic orthoses are used to aid scar management.

    Education Officer

    Job Description

    The role of the Education Officer is to maximise the educational opportunities of the patient by maintaining connections with their school of origin, and plan for their successful re-entry to school.

    During a young person's hospitalisation, communication links are established with their school and may be maintained through phone, fax, e-mail, and Desktop Video Conferencing.  As a member of the multi - disciplinary team the Education Officer liaises with the family and the school to identify the current educational needs of the young person, and to work toward a smooth transition to school.  An information package is available for both teachers and parents.  Peer and staff education is also available.