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5 mins read 12 May 2022

Today, on International Nurses Day (IND) we shine a light on our nursing staff and their vital work. Our nurses are a core part of RSL LifeCare’s front line, who provide exceptional medical care and emotional support to residents across our thirty one Residential Care homes and within the Home Care community. We also have many trained nurses working in RSL LifeCare management positions within support services; using their skills to deliver on everything from strategy and operations to policy and governance.​​​​​​​

This year’s theme for IND is ‘a voice to lead’, as set by the International Council of Nurses. To help bring this theme to life we interviewed three of our support staff, all of whom come from a nursing background to learn more about their professional journeys and to hear their thoughts on what this year’s theme means to them.

“We are a skilled and professional workforce: we are a group of people who need to lead together.” Nicki Young.

 

Nicki Young, Chief Business Improvement Officer

Nicki trained as a nurse at Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth “Liz” Hospital, Adelaide, where she worked for five years before joining the Navy as a nurse. In her twenty one years in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Nicky worked as a nurse and managed navy hospitals, health promotion and health capability. Nicky rose to the role of Commanding Officer of a joint health unit for Southern New South Wales and then Central Sydney. Following this, Nicki worked in private health and then at RSL LifeCare, first as Executive General Manager, Veteran Services, and now as Chief Business Improvement Officer.

Nicki would like to see nurses better recognised for the work they do, not only on the front line but within health planning and policy too. While Nicki acknowledges that the public perception of the nursing profession is changing. she added that “Nurses have been underestimated for a long time in terms of what they bring to the health sphere. There is so much health planning and policy that underpins our society, and nurses play a key role in supporting planning and policy that information public health, which the average person doesn’t see. We are a skilled and professional workforce: we are a group of people who need to lead together.” ​​​​​​​

For Nicky, this year’s theme means, “Leadership is about knowing your people and how to get the best out of people. This same approach can be applied to the nursing community.”

It’s about being responsible and accountable for your role and  respectful of our clients and their choices of how they are supported.” Lynette Franco

 

Lynette Franco, General Manager, Home Care

Lynette (Lyn) trained as a nurse after finishing secondary school and was attracted to nursing as a profession because she “always wanted to care for others”. Lyn says that before starting in nursing “I always loved anatomy and the concept that we can cure people through therapies, medicine and surgery.”

Lyn undertook her training at Sutherland Hospital in the Sutherland Shire. Attracted to acute nursing, Lyn moved into operating theatre nursing, and then onto commissioning and managing operating theatres across multiple specialty services. Lyn progressed f into and number of management roles.

For Lyn, she loves that the nursing vocation can be so diverse, with never a dull moment. She has learned as a nurse to see the grey in between the black and white – “Nurses have to be very organised, and problem solve constantly, which are skills that are very helpful in management roles”.

What Lyn loves most is working in the community, which has brought her to home care. Lyn currently spends one day a week in the field, so that she has an opportunity to remain connected and in touch with her clients and their needs.

Lyn believes that as a profession, there is a lot of respect for nurses.’ Her interpretation of ‘A voice to lead”, is: “It’s about being responsible and accountable for your role and being respectful of our clients and their choices of how they are supported.”

“As nurses, we make sure that our patients’ needs are heard and met. we are their advocates.” Helen Vaz

 

Helen Vaz is a Clinical Practice Specialist – Palliative Care, Clinical Governance.

Since the age of eight years old Helen knew she wanted to care for people and become a nurse. After finishing school, Helen trained at St Thomas Hospital Nightingale school of nursing in central London and became a Nightingale Nurse. On emigrating to Australia Helen worked in Residential Care, palliative care in hospital and community settings before transitioning to quality management at Palliative Care Australia. This involved supporting services to provide quality safe care for their clients with palliative care needs.

Helen says, “I like the human side of nursing and interacting with people.” the start of life and the end of life are such significant points in time, and as a Clinical Practice Specialist in Palliative Care, I’m privileged to be a part of the end of life, supporting the person and their whole family

We asked Helen how she interprets this year’s IND theme ‘A voice to lead”? For Helen “as a nurse, it’s always been my role to understand and make sure that our patients’ needs are heard and met, we are their advocates.”

Finally, today, we ask you, please take the time to give thanks to the nurses at work and within your community for the amazing work they do.  

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Enjoy life in one of our Retirement Villages, where maintenance is a thing of the past and secure, easy living is your everyday.

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You'll feel right at home joining our community of warm and welcoming peers and team members. Live your best life, with care tailored to your needs.

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