Meet Grafton Base Hospital nurse, Kerry. To celebrate International Nurse’s Day, she shares why she enjoys nursing, the friendships she’s made and the everyday challenges at the hospital. As a Grafton local for over two decades, she also explains how the staff at Summerland’s Grafton branch have been her “financial rocks” over the years.
In the beginning
In 1973, my Mum suggested I go see the matron at the local hospital. I’ll be honest, the first few years were a real struggle, as I didn’t know much about nursing at all. After doing three years of training, I got the opportunity to do midwifery at Gosford District Hospital on the Central Coast.
During that period, where I was aiding women giving birth, I got to a point where I felt nursing had become a part of who I was. I of course wanted to help people, but what I was really fascinated by, was what the human body goes through, and I enjoyed learning about that.
Today, I work at Grafton Base Hospital, on level two – where I’ve been for the past 20 years. The Northern Rivers is a wonderful place, with great weather. I call the city, ‘gorgeous Grafton’ as it is a beautiful place with kind people. You see with events like the Jacaranda Festival, that there’s a strong community spirit in Grafton; one which I’m proud to be a part of.
I have really enjoyed the camaraderie with colleagues over the last 47 years. Back in the day, when you lived in the nurses’ home, it was like a little family, but even now on the wards you develop these beautiful friendships with colleagues. You have their back, and they have yours.
At Grafton Base Hospital, we have an incredibly positive Nurse Unit Manager, who gives us the opportunity to develop our skills as nurses. The medical ward I work on is particularly pressurised in terms of the cases that come in, so it’s great to have that support from those around you.
One of the main challenges I would say, without being dramatic, is that I can be treating a patient who is stable and well, but within a short period of time their health can deteriorate, so all your attention shifts to them. And that’s keeping in mind you’ll still have other patients to treat and care for too.
In the palliative area of the ward, you see lots of families going through their own personal grief, and as we get to know them, we do our best to help them navigate the journey depending on the eventual outcome.
“My financial rocks”
In 2008, when my savings took a hit from the Global Financial Crisis, I was looking at refinancing my home loan to another financial institution from one of the major banks. I’d seen a few adverts from Summerland, and they were local in Grafton, so I thought why not? I have to say, this remains one of the best decisions I’ve made as I now have all my banking including loans and insurance with them.
John and Lisa, who work at the Grafton branch, have been my financial rocks over the years. I was privileged enough to look after Lisa’s parents when they were in hospital as well – so I feel that closeness with them. It may sound cheesy, but I couldn’t have managed in the last few years without either of them. They’ve been there for the good and bad times, like when I broke my leg, and I had to fly to Canada last minute. I feel they have been able to make things happen. Similarly, to how I give care to my patients, both John and Lisa have been able to give me some attention and advice with my finances; they’ve always had my back. I can’t speak highly enough of Summerland, I’m really lucky to be a member. Every time I go in there, I feel special.
The statements are the opinions of the interviewee and should not be taken as financial advice from Summerland. Summerland loans are subject to lending criteria. Terms and conditions, fees and charges may apply