THE BEST OF CARE
By Susan Muldowney
Didier Moutia AFMIL began volunteering with St John Ambulance when he was 16 and says the decades of experience have provided valuable management lessons.
“In a typical job, you do things because you’re getting a pay packet,” he says. “At places like St John, people are volunteering their time, so you have to think about how to make them engaged with what they’re doing and how you can achieve a consensus. It gives you a whole set of different skills that you can use in your corporate life.”
St John Ambulance is a self-funding charitable organisation that provides first aid services, training and equipment in more than 40 countries. Active in Australia for more than 130 years, it has about 16,000 volunteers and the training they provide has resulted in 500,000 first aid certificates. Moutia started as a St John cadet and says the experience led to his career in nursing.
“I really liked St John’s approach and how they managed patient care. It was very holistic and they were all extremely knowledgeable yet humble at the same time. They were able to communicate with patients and their family members in a way that gave them reassurance and broke down information so they could digest it. It got me thinking that nursing could be for me because I liked the people side of it.”
“If someone is struggling, we try and identify that early on and refer them to an appropriate resource.”
After working as a theatre nurse, Moutia joined medical software company InterSystems in 1998. “I’m still doing something that I did in nursing, which is influencing outcomes for patients, but I’m doing it by delivering the technology that assists and supports it,” he explains. “I bring a bit of realism to what we do. I make sure that what we deliver to a clinician is something that’s very usable and saves them time but ultimately improves patient care.”
Moutia has held various positions at St John, including commissioner in NSW, and is now peer support coordinator for the state. “If anyone needs peer support or if there’s been a critical incident, such as a patient having a cardiac arrest, my job is to make sure that whoever was involved gets the peer support they need. As a minimum, we would call them to see if they’re OK after the incident. If someone is struggling, we try to identify that early and refer them to an appropriate resource to help them.”
Volunteer work occupies about 20 hours of Moutia’s week and he says balancing it with his day job comes down to careful planning. “I just have to be really organised with my diary,” he says. “I’ve been volunteering with them for so long it’s just part of my life now. I have a philosophy – when you’re doing one thing, do it really well. In other words, I try not to multitask. When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m at St John, I’m at St John.”