Picture: Epworth Geelong nurse Matthew Batterham with colleagues Libby and Rach, who cared for him while he was a patient.

A Geelong man who underwent a series of operations at Epworth Geelong was so inspired by the care he received that he became a nurse – joining those who looked after him.

Matthew Batterham underwent an emergency colectomy by Dr David Wardill in 2016.

“I was on medications, going to the toilet up to 40 times a day due to how inflamed my bowel was, my weight dropped to 45 kilograms and I did not leave the house,” Matthew said.

Matthew was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Glenn Guest performed three further operations on Matthew at Epworth Geelong. Mathew says he has been given a whole new life.

“Thanks to the surgery, I now have an ileostomy bag and it has significantly improved my quality of life,” Matthew said.

Matthew was working in retail before his surgery but decided on a career change after his time in hospital.

“Coming into hospital you aren’t having the best time. It just takes one nurse to go that little bit further and it helps get you through one of the hardest periods of your life. They were awesome, and a huge reason why I decided to become a nurse.”

Matthew pursued nursing studies at university and later applied to work at Epworth Geelong with the intention of becoming a stomal nurse in the future.

Matthew said his time as a patient has definitely made him a better nurse.

After six months working in cardiology and neurology at Epworth Geelong, Matthew moved to the fast paced surgical ward, where he was previously a patient.

“It felt great to join the nurses on the ward who looked after me years earlier,” Matthew said.