Epworth HealthCare is enjoying something of an expansion of late. The hospital can boast new and ongoing developments at its major sites and some of the highest staff engagement and patient satisfaction ratings recorded.
I was invited recently to provide some corporate photography in Geelong on day one of operations at its newest facility (yes, I wore scrubs).
I've stayed in hospitals twice; as a child and again briefly, during the birth of our daughter last year - both occasions gave me cause to respect the tireless work of nurses and and both stays imbued a real sense of 'hospital.' But it's so apparent that the old-school design rulebook has been cast aside at Epworth's Geelong facility - it's stylish, engaging and looks and feels every bit the 'hospital meets comfortable hotel appeal.' I mused privately it's a style befitting our Geelong corporate photography end of year celebrations (drinks by the fountain and an overnight stay upstairs).
The new facility, adjacent to Deakin University, provides an emergency department, medical, surgical and rehabilitation inpatient beds, consulting suites, rehabilitation facilities, a complex care unit, maternity ward and a clinical education and simulation precinct (in partnership with Deakin).
Epworth HealthCare Group Chief Executive Alan Kinkade was on site for the hospital's first day of operation, which given his predilection for greeting staff and new patients, made my brief considerably tighter (ever known a CEO to meander?).
Throughout the day I reminded myself, as any sound professional photographer in Geelong or Melbourne might, that Epworth's brief called for more than a recording of events of its first day - it required a meaningful portrayal of interactions and procedures as they happen on any first day, anywhere: optimistic, rehearsed, hopeful. From the calm of morning, before most staff and patients and light, through the first scorching of coffee orders and a melodic chorus of awakened telephone banks, through private, muted conversations between administrators and surgeons, all moving at a pace in harmony.
These moments didn't happen all at once, they unfolded, they played out with first day emotions. So by day's end, when patients enjoyed their meals in the comfort of their spacious suites, it could hardly be difficult to imagine that the chefs and kitchen hands I photographed hours earlier, some floors below, would be preparing for tomorrow.
The coffee halls quietened, the gift shop shuttered and concierge staff retiring to their seats - one full day down.
Photographing a day in the life of anything, anywhere really does require the photographer to apply a light touch and move at relevant pace, true to the feeling of what's transpiring. Capturing a day in the life of a new hospital means at some point there will be scrubs.