What does life look for you now?
I live in Newcastle, which many don't know is one of the best places in Australia to live, great beaches, arts and music, small bars, craft beer, and great coffee. I work full-time at John Hunter Hospital as the End of Life Care Nurse Practitioner supporting patients and their families when death is approaching. I love my job, and feel privileged to be able to do the work I do.
I am married to Lachlan who I met at University in Wagga Wagga in 1993. We have three boys two in high school and one in primary. They all love the Newcastle beaches and are keen surfers. Lachlan runs his own brewing company, Grainfed Brewing Company, producing quality craft beer for the local Newcastle and regional market. We also have a Beagle called Molly, who is pretty much the highest maintenance of all members of our family.
Tell us what you are passionate about?
I am passionate about my work, and trying to ensure that everyone is afforded compassion, dignity and respect at end of life. I have always been interested in working with families in crisis and most of my nursing career has been spent in ICU and working with families making the decision to donate a loved ones organs after death. Of course work life balance is important, and at home I am passionate about my boys, Newcastle, and making the most of life - whilst not sweating the small stuff. I am also a lover of great beer, wine and food, with little or no passion for exercise (which is clearly a bad thing)
When you were young, what were you hoping to be when you grew up?
I always thought when I left Radford I would be an actress, which was never going to happen. I do remember going on year 12 camp to Central Australia, and meeting the flying doctors, and thinking at that stage, a life as a nurse was for me.
What is your favourite Radford moment?
I have recently been taken back to one of the highlights of my Radford life, while I have been packing with my 13 yr old for him to go off on an Outward Bound style camp. I loved Outward Bound, and in fact, I do remember at one stage thinking that I could have a career as an outward bound instructor. There was also the final year 12 breakfast on the hill, which I will never forget.
Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?
While at Radford, I always loved the support and care provided to me by Maureen Kleeman, who showed compassion and kindness always in her life.
In my working life surrounded by Doctors and Nurses, I am always inspired by those that go above and beyond, and recognise the importance of kindness, compassion and communication in the support of patients who are vulnerable and scared in our hospitals.
How easy was it to decide what to do in life?
I started Nursing in 1993 as an Assistant in Nursing, and have moved through all the levels of Nursing to being a Nurse Practitioner, I can't imagine ever doing anything else.
I've often dreamed of winning the lottery and retiring, but until then, I suspect I will always be nursing.
Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?
I never expected to become a Nurse Practitioner, however after 20 years of Nursing I guess it was a natural progression I have worked hard and my Nursing career has been kind to me, I have been sent overseas for work multiple times, travelled, met the most inspiring and wonderful people and learnt so much about the human spirit, it has been a lovely journey.
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?
I wish that I had realised how great school was, and to cherish those years and those friends. I am constantly reminding my kids, to enjoy it and don't wish it away. As Bryan Adams would say "Those were the best days of my life".
I would never change my lot, but it would have also been nice to travel more, prior to settling down to have a family and career. I'll have to wait for the grey nomad years now.
What advice do you have for current students?
Enjoy it. Don't try to grow up and get out too quickly, enjoy the friendship, the good times, and the bad, in each one there is a lesson to be learnt. Always know that there is someone to talk to, and that you are not alone.
And as I say to my kids "put down your device and look up"
Anything else that you would like to share?
If you are in Newcastle ask for a Grainfed Beer, our flagship beer is called "Sneaky One", and comes highly recommended; www.grainfedbrewing.com.au.
Talk to your loved ones about your organ donation wishes, its really important and you could save a life.
Class of 91 was the best !!!