Monday December 11, 2023

Eastern Health nurse Cheelim Liew is set become Australia’s first Nurse Practitioner in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment. 

From a young age, Cheelim Liew always wanted to study something “exciting and meaningful”.  Having been a nurse for many years now, Mr Liew is still reaching for the stars having just completed studies to become Australia’s first ever ECMO Nurse Practitioner.

“Aside from being a Critical Care Registered Nurse, I am also an Accredited Medical Sonographer. I thank the leadership of many within the organisation that enabled the combined of the two specialties that enabled me to respond faster to critical ill patients such as patients on ECMO.

“This innovative Model of Care has resulted in our patients surviving and having functional outcomes that are comparable, if not better, nationally and internationally,” Mr Liew said.

The title of Nurse Practitioner is legally protected in Australia. A Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed a two-year Master of Advanced Clinical Nursing and undergone additional clinical training, giving them the authority to diagnose, prescribe diagnostics and medications to treat patients within their Model of Care.

Cheelim Liew
Cheelim Liew is set to be Australia’s first ever ECMO Nurse Practitioner Image: Eastern Health

One of the most challenging parts of Mr Liew’s journey to becoming a Nurse Practitioner has been balancing study and work, and having to sacrifice spending time with his loved ones.

With much support from his family and a lot of determination, Mr Liew completed his studies and is now awaiting official Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency endorsement.

In the meantime, he reflects on what has made him the best possible nurse he can be.

“Nursing generally has a lot of specialties and suits a lot of different personalities. Looking at myself, I think looking back to what assisted me, was my ability to think quite differently from other people. Working in a very challenging environment gave me a lot of time for me to critically think about my decision making process. It’s important to me because I like to be consistently challenged,” Mr Liew explained.

Through his passion to create excellent care and experiences for our consumers, Mr Liew has opened the door for others who aspire to be just like him, and continue to challenge the perspective of what it truly means to be a nurse.

“I’m so excited and proud to know I will be officially recognised as an ECMO Nurse Practitioner. I am fortunate to have organisational support to achieve this, and I wanted to thank everyone involved for their mentorship for the past two years. By becoming a Nurse Practitioner, I can now work at the full scope of my practice to improve patient outcomes at Eastern Health and also show the value in creating more opportunities like this for other people as well.”