A sense of déjà vu: How a 35-year career encountered two hospital transitions

No stranger to the ever-expanding nature of Monash Health, Dr Jeff Alison has described his upcoming move to the Victorian Heart Hospital in early 2023 as a feeling of déjà vu.

“I’ve been working at Monash Health since 1987, and I was actually a part of the original group of staff that moved from the old Queen Victoria Hospital, in the centre of Melbourne, in 1987 when it was closed and relocated to the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton,” he said.

The Monash Heart Deputy Director of Cardiac Rhythm Management Services, who will be working in our new and improved Catheterisation Laboratories at the Victorian Heart Hospital, said he was looking forward to utilising the expanded capabilities of the new site.

“We’re going to have more space, more beds, better procedural areas and top-of-the-line technology, so we will be able to deliver services to more patients – but to do that, we’re going to need some more staff,” Jeff said.

He said the feeling among his team was full of anticipation and excitement as they gear up to move across to their new home.

“It’s a big change, but we’ve been wanting it for many years,” Jeff said.

“We just want to get in there and get started.”

A Catheterisation Laboratory – or Cath Lab – is a procedural area where sophisticated imaging equipment, such as X-ray or ultrasound, guides placement of catheters within the coronary arteries or the chambers of the heart itself, allowing diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders or problems with blood flow.

Being able to use the new state-of-the-art technology to improve patient outcomes was what Jeff said he was most looking forward to.

“We’ll be able to do 3D mapping inside the heart and have more high-fidelity pictures and lower radiation doses with this most recent technology,” he said.

“It’s also all going to be integrated and networked, so we’ll be able to do a procedure in one room and have people watching and learning from another room or via the internet, so we can network during live cases.”

He said what drew him to working in cardiac services and staying for so many years was the satisfaction of being able to make people feel better and live longer.

“In cardiac rhythm management, many problems we encounter we can actually cure and return people to normal health, sending them on their way,” Jeff said.

“Many medical conditions you can only control rather than cure, so I find satisfaction in being able to permanently solve a problem.”

The existing culture in the Cath Lab had a “very strong camaraderie”, which Jeff said he was looking forward to bringing over into the new hospital and introducing to the new employees.

“That’s one of our strengths; even though we all have different sub-specialities within Monash Heart, everyone respects each other and their skills, and we all get along well,” he said.

For those considering applying for a role in the VHH Cath Lab, or any department, Jeff said if you’ve got the skillset, you should go for it.

“I think they will find the work rewarding and a great benefit to their long-term careers, and they’ll find the working environment welcoming,” he said.

“You can expand your skill base while receiving the support and camaraderie of a great team.”

To learn more about career opportunities at the Victorian Heart Hospital, visit our Careers page.