Meet Melinda, an Enrolled Nurse and mother of two. Melinda came to nursing later in life and brought her life skills and a passion for people in her role. She works as a general practice Nurse which gives her the flexibility she needs in her life.At NNT, we want to acknowledge the incredible contribution these people make to our communities, the challenges they face and the essential work they do, every single day.
Q. Why did you decide to become a nurse?
A. I recognised a strong interest in health and the human body and wanted to pursue a career that combined this interest with my passion for people and delivering amazing customer service. Nursing requires great clinical skills but just as importantly, a passion for connecting with people and showing genuine empathy.
Q. What advice would you give someone pursuing a career in nursing?
A. Nursing is a lifelong career that offers lots of flexibility and can take you in so many different directions. It’s an internationally recognised profession where the scope of what you choose to do will never be limited. You meet amazing people every single day and you are blessed with the opportunity to make their lives better, in small and large ways. Nursing is also a career than can be considered by mature people. I started studying in my early 30s and met many like-minded people in my course. I believe maturity and life skills are absolute assets to nursing and health care.
Q. How do you balance your nursing career with life?
A. I choose to work part-time. This has allowed me to raise my family and pursue other interests in life. Nursing provides flexible options for work/life balance. Whilst I love my work, I recognise that it is only a part of what makes me, me. Of course, we need to work to live, but I also have learned the importance of making time for myself. We need to look after ourselves to be the best we can be in our professional lives.
Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge nurses face in healthcare?
A. I constantly hear from colleagues in the hospital and acute sectors that nurse-to-patient ratios are still often inadequate. During COVID, staff retention has been a huge problem due to burnout. We need to make sure that all the necessary support systems are in place and readily available to support nurses and medical staff in unprecedented and hugely challenging times. Mental health needs to take priority always.
Q. What challenges do you face and how to you overcome them?
A. My nursing career started later in life after I had 2 small children. Personally, I found shift work in the hospital system very challenging to manage whilst trying to be a great partner and mother and run an efficient household. I also found there to be some level of "hierarchy" in the hospital system at that time and so after several years of consolidating my clinical skills, I moved into General Practice Nursing where I found a more cohesive team environment that worked for me and offered a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday role that enabled me to focus on the other people and things that were important to me.
Q. What do you think your superpower is?
A. My superpower is absolutely my passion for customer service. Almost anyone can be taught clinical skills. I truly value the importance of delivering a great personal experience to each and every client I see. I have a great ability to build rapport with people of all ages and all walks of life. And it’s genuine. I love people. There is always something for me to learn from someone else and if I can seek that out then I come away feeling like I’ve gained something valuable also. Some days it can be hard. But when I receive that "thank you" from my clients, I know it’s so worthwhile and genuinely appreciated. One of my favourite sayings is "Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.