Cockatoo – Surgical and Neuro Care

Who will be looking after you

  • Patients of Cockatoo Ward are cared for by a variety of health care professionals who work as a team to meet the needs of the patient.


    There are three nursing shifts over the 24-hour period. Your nurse will introduce themselves to you at the commencement of their shift.  It is the role of the bedside nurse to coordinate and provide care for your child, educate you and your child about their condition and plan of care, whilst being an advocate for the family by liaising with members of the multidisciplinary team.   We recognise the importance of the family to a child's wellbeing and their sense of security, we adopt a family centred approach to care and therefore, encourage you to participate in the child's daily care.

    Nurse Unit Manager

    The Nurse Unit Manager's role incorporates day-to-day running of the ward, clinical support to patients, families and staff, human resource management of approximately 55 staff members, budget and finance management, initiating and managing quality improvement projects specific to the unit, maintaining OH&S standards and Infection Control practices, review and purchase of equipment. They are the key contact person for managing patient concerns and addressing ward issues and maintains close working relationships with clinical and non-clinical areas to ensure a positive working environment.

    Associate Unit Manager

    The Associate Unit Manager (AUM) is the nurse in charge of the shift. It is the AUM's role to manage staff, coordinate admissions, discharges and transfers, although the AUM is not allocated a patient load, they are responsible for each patient on the unit and supporting bedside nurses throughout the shift.

    Cockatoo Nurse Coordinators

           We currently have two Nurse Coordinators on Cockatoo ward, Nuala Kentish and Hayley HcIvor who share this position Monday to Friday. It is the role of the Nurse Coordinator to coordinate the care of those children who are admitted for complex needs involving multiple medical specialties and patients who experience long admissions. They are used as the single point of reference for the family and the members of the multidisciplinary team (listed below).  They also assist with education of parents regarding their child's condition and coordination of discharge needs and follow up for complex children.       

    Clinical Support Nurse


    This is a position responsible for the facilitating clinical support for the nurses on the ward. 

    Heather Argentino and Jess Ellis are our Clinical Nurse Facilitator, they does not care for specific patients, but you may meet her on the ward when she assists or educates nurses looking after you.


    Doctors- Medical Team

    Your child will be admitted under the care of one primary medical specialty team.  For example a child needing neurosurgery is admitted under the care of the neurosurgical team, whilst a child with epilepsy is cared for by the neurology team.  Often, if your child has multiple health issues, more than one medical team may be involved but the primary team will coordinate your child's care. 

    The medical team consists of doctors, at differing levels of training and experience.  The most junior of the team is the resident, followed by registrar and fellow and the most senior of the team is the consultant who is a specialist in their chosen field.

    Allied Health Team


    It is the aim of physiotherapy to get your child moving as soon as possible by providing exercise, equipment and education.

    Each medical team (e.g., neurology, neurosurgery) are allocated a team of physiotherapists, should your child require physiotherapy while they are an in-patient your bedside nurse or treating doctors will make a referral to the appropriate physiotherapist.
    (for more info visit  Physiotherapy)

    Nutrition & Dietetics

    Dieticians are available to consult on all aspects of infant and child nutrition including assessment, recommendations for nutritional management and implementation of therapeutic diets within the hospital.

    Each medical team (e.g., neurology, neurosurgery) are allocated a dietician, should your child require a dietician while they are an in-patient your bedside nurse or treating doctors will make a referral to the appropriate dietician.
    (for more info visit  Nutrition & Dietetics)

    Speech Pathology

    Speech Pathologists are professionals trained to assess and treat people who have a communication disability or a problem with eating or swallowing.

    Each medical team (e.g., neurology, neurosurgery) are allocated a speech pathologist, should your child require speech pathology while they are an in-patient your bedside nurse or treating doctors will make a referral to the appropriate speech pathologist.
    (for more info visit  Speech Pathology)

    Social Work

    Social workers work collaboratively with families and health professionals to contribute to the psychosocial health and well being your child and their family, with particular reference to their social, cultural, economic, and political context.

    Each medical team (e.g., neurology, neurosurgery) are allocated a social worker, should you or your child require a social worker while they are an in-patient your bedside nurses or treating doctors will make a referral to the appropriate social worker.  Feel free to ask your nurse to contact a social worker on your behalf.
    (for more info visit  Social Work)

    Occupational Therapists

    An occupational therapist is a health care professional that works with people to help them achieve independence in undertaking activities of daily living. They work with children who are experiencing difficulty with daily tasks such as play, self-care or school activities.

    Each medical team (e.g., neurology, neurosurgery) are allocated an occupational therapist, should your child require occupational therapist while they are an in-patient your bedside nurse or doctors will make a referral to the appropriate occupational therapist.

    (for more info visit  Occupational Therapy)

    Play Therapists

    Play therapists use play to assist children in hospital to experience their admission positively, to cope with hospital routines, to meet and socialise with other children and to promote normal play activities for hospitalised children.

    Our play therapist Marnie Little is available on the unit from 9am until 12pm Monday-Friday. The play therapist conducts activities in the playroom; she also provides play at the bedside for children that are restricted to bed.  She also conducts one on one specialised afternoon sessions with our long-term patients with specific play needs.
    (for more info visit  Educational Play Therapy)

    Education Advisors

    Teachers support the education needs of your child while in hospital. We have a full-time teacher at the Children's Neuroscience Centre and two part-time teachers on the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation team. In consultation with the care managers or rehabilitation team, a teacher may meet with you and your child to assist with putting supports in place so your child continues to learn and stay connected to school. Teachers aim to create a learning environment on the ward and provide a variety of learning opportunities using the latest technology such as netbooks and iPads. They can also support schoolwork set by your child's school.

     (For more info visit Education Institute)


    Pharmacists will look after all medication matters whilst you or your child is in hospital. Our pharmacists visit the wards Monday to Friday or you can talk to them in the pharmacy department.

    Patient Service Assistants (PSA)

    These are auxiliary workers who assist nursing staff by providing indirect patient care. They contribute to the maintenance of a welcoming, clean environment for patients, staff and visitors.  They assist with the meal service, transporting patients, maintaining stores and general domestic activities.

    Ward Clerk

    Ward clerks provide clerical support to nursing staff, support our families in regard to general hospital and ward facilities. They organise outpatient appointments, medical histories, coordinate phone calls. Ward clerks work business hours during the week and are on the ward both mornings of the weekend. They are a good resource for families for any ward based information required.


    Volunteers support and assist nursing staff in providing and promoting the highest quality of patient care by spending time with patients whose primary care givers are absent, making the patient's stay at the Children's Neuroscience Centre as comfortable as possible.
    (for more info visit Volunteers Dept)