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Behind the build with Erin McKenzie


Knowing the behind-the-scenes work she and her team are doing to improve health care on the Gold Coast fuels Senior Project Officer Erin McKenzie’s sense of purpose.  

Having cut her teeth as a medical receptionist early on in her career, Erin sheds light on the aspects of her job she finds most rewarding, and how she thinks she’ll feel when Coomera Hospital is complete and open to the community.  

To kick things off, tell us about your career journey…

My career has been driven by a passion for health care. I started as a medical receptionist in Victoria before moving to Gold Coast Health in 2017. Transitioning to Queensland Health felt like a natural progression for me because I’m continuing to support patient care with a project hat on. 

In the past seven years, I've been involved in several major projects. I'm now part of the Infrastructure Planning, Delivery and Commissioning (IPDC) team, currently focusing on the new Coomera Hospital project. 

What does your role entail?  

In my role, I lead our team coordination, governance and reporting. In addition, I’m a project lead for multiple internal and external user working groups. One of the groups I am involved in is our Consumer Advisory Group (CAG), where consumers have a seat at the planning table and act as a community voice to the project.

My team knows me very well for my 'Orientation to Carrara' inductions, where I provide newcomers to the health service with warnings about snakes lurking around the office. I am also passionate about capability building amongst my peers and team. 

What’s your immediate focus or challenge at the moment? 

My focus is on establishing good processes and a solid team structure for our growing team, putting the needs of our future patients first. Stakeholder engagement and taking diverse interest groups on the planning journey with us are also very important to me. I’ve seen how effective communication and collaboration achieves quality results for the community we care for.  

What do you find most rewarding about your job?  

It’s knowing every choice we make, every resource we allocate, and every milestone achieved gets us one step closer to making a real difference for patients and their loved ones. 

By having the new Coomera Hospital closer to home, what are the benefits for northern Gold Coasters? 

It's been shown that having services closer to home enhances patients' overall wellbeing and I know the hospital will be welcomed by local residents. Before we know it there will be an additional Emergency Department (ED), extra birthing suites and more outpatient and mental health services on the northern end. This will also hopefully reduce the pressures faced by Gold Coast University Hospital and Robina Hospital.  

What are the design features of the new Coomera Hospital? 

The hospital’s design is made up of two buildings – a main clinical building and a facility service building all connected by a link bridge. Its closeness to the train station and shops is convenient and the architects are ensuring it's a building to serve our staff and patients for years to come.  

How do you think you’ll feel once the hospital is finished and fully operational? 
I'll feel extremely proud seeing the passion and hard work of our clinicians, staff and project team all come together. Delivering the hospital and knowing patients are receiving treatment there will be a great reward.  

Lastly, how do you keep healthy?  

Spending quality time with loved ones, exploring new places and staying active at the gym are all important to me. I'm also passionate about continual learning and enhancing my skills, especially in health administration and project management. 

Last updated 08 May 2024