Matthew Burdess

Matthew Burdess in front of colourful mural

Clinical Nurse Consultant - Drug & Alcohol Clinical Liaison Service

St George Hospital

“My role involves engaging and assessing patients with drug and alcohol issues that have been identified within the hospital setting. The Drug & Alcohol Clinical Liaison (D&A CL) team’s overall aim is to engage patients in a non-judgemental manner so that we can assess them and develop an individualised treatment plan that aligns with their own goals. While the patient is in hospital, we will do brief intervention and provide education and resources that support harm minimisation. We also refer patients to services available to them both in the hospital and the community. We also support the ward staff and help provide support and education to the patient’s treating team.

I remember a patient who had chronic substance use problems and had been really unwell with multiple hospital admissions. They had successfully engaged with the community D&A service and achieved a lengthy period of abstinence, but had a close family member die and they were grieving. The patient knew that this was a very high risk time to return back to substance use as a coping strategy, but instead they attended the D&A clinic to collect medication and gain support from the staff. It was a pivotal moment within this patient’s recovery.

It’s amazing to see people begin to turn their life around and begin to live the way in which they wish. This could be by engaging into treatment or housing services, building relationships with family, children or friends, recommencing work or study. Seeing this is one of the proudest moments that I would have in my role.”