22 February 1971 Starlog: that was the date I entered this space ship, trying to pick up pieces of damaged personalities across the cosmos. My mother was a nurse in Vienna ( as was my aunt) and came to Sydney in 1960 when I was eight years old. I lived in a tin can in Villawood migrant village for 6 years.
At age 19 I had just taken up a pilot cadetship with a major airline, when my mother, who was nursing at Lidcombe Hospital, asked why I didn’t do nursing. My sarcastic reply about male nurses didn’t faze her, and she had me take her to work, where she proudly paraded me around the wards, introducing me to her colleagues.
The 1970’s was a great time in Sydney. So, I have my mother to blame for the last 38 years spent in this chess-game. I started nursing on the above date, and by 1974 was working in intensive care, becoming deputy Charge Nurse (NUM).
I also moonlighted as an agency nurse across Sydney (what I called “spy missions into enemy territory” – in order to see if there were better methods, systems, charts etc elsewhere that we could use at Lidcombe). I did a management course in 1975, then the Coronary Care Course at The NSW College of Nursing in 1976.
In 1978 I was accepted at Sydney’s St.Vincents Hospital Intensive Therapy Unit (they probably couldn’t spell “Care”?) for their ICU course under Dr Bob Wright. 1979 and I became NUM of Lidcombe Hospital Intensive Care, then of Bankstown Hospital Intensive Care and also Coronary Care units in 1983.
A work accident removed me from nursing (but I didn’t make a workers comp claim) and I switched to agency nursing, which I have done since 1987 and have worked most Sydney hospitals over the years. It opened many windows on the variety of care practices, and the different responses and attitudes of nursing staff.
The main character I see is that of the disillusioned burnt-out nurse, who brings his/her frustrations to the work place and thus transfers her attitudes to new nurses. The ‘family’ atmosphere that seemed to pervade the 1970’s hospitals has become cold.
In addition, the rapidly escalating deterioration of lifestyle and eating habits of the general population is creating a landslide of physical vegetables, on a roller-coaster ride to drug-company hell. I enjoy educating everyone about nutritional health, about the stand they should take to save their bodies/ replenish themselves, and to repair the mental, physical, financial damage they have done.
I thrive on work as a critical care nurse and often spend 60-80 hour weeks in acute care areas. I enjoy motivating, encouraging and redirecting other health care workers (and patients plus their ‘others’) into better health options.
Nursing, for me is a complete energy recharge. There is so much to do (too much!) with so little time to do it in!