" I love being a nurse, you never stop learning. There are never two days that are alike. It is a constant challenge, even after 23 years. "


My journey to becoming a nurse started as a young kid growing up in a very tight knit community in the Philippines. We have a big family and our neighbours had so many children! As a culture we tend to help one another and support each other. I was often looking after the younger kids and found myself being the advocate for the family. At one stage, one of our family members was very unwell and had to be hospitalised for a couple of weeks. I used to volunteer to go and look after her. I remember being in awe of the nurses who worked in the hospital with very limited resources. They were still happy despite looking after very unwell patients.

Some patients were aggressive because they were very sick and had to wait extended periods for the nurses to come and see them, but because there are only a few nurses working they couldn’t attend immediately. I watched as they maintained their professionalism and tried to communicate to their patients and calm them down. I thought they were so amazing at the time and I believe this experience led me down the path to becoming a nurse.

My parents were both marine biologists and there was a great deal of emphasis on education. They worked hard to pay for our education, so my entire family was put through university.

I migrated to Australia in 1995 after graduating university in the Philippines. I completed the necessary three-month bridging course to be registered in Australia, and during this time, chose to care for patients by working as a personal care attendant at a nursing home.

I appreciate the resources we have is Australia so much as I know how hard it is back in the Philippines. I think we are so lucky. I worked for a nursing agency for a few years after arriving in Australia, which I really enjoyed as I was always learning by working in new environments every day.

While working for the agency, Peter Mac continued to book me time and time again. When I walked in, I just knew this was the hospital where I wanted to work for as long as I can. The nurses really looked me when I was new - not only to the hospital but to Australia as well. I began at Peter Mac on the Surgical Unit at the East Melbourne site. I then moved on to Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. I helped support the Bone Marrow Transplant co-ordinator while also working as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager on the ward.

I completed my Certificate in Oncology at Peter Mac and then Post Graduate Diploma in Cancer Nursing after that, which I really enjoyed. I was so lucky as both were completed on a scholarship grant - I don’t think I would have been able to afford the courses otherwise! I think I was selected for both because my passion for oncology shines through. That’s what I love about being a nurse, you never stop learning. There are never two days that are alike. It is a constant challenge even after 23 years.

The past few years of nursing have been tough, but I looked after myself through meditation and gardening. We have so many animals at home which keep me busy, even when I am not at work I am still caring for other living organisms at home with my plants and animals. We have two horses, lots of fish, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, a blue tongue lizard, a frog… our house is like a zoo! It doesn’t matter though. They are so therapeutic, we treat them like our family and my youngest daughter absolutely loves them.

When I think back on patients who have impacted me during my nursing career, there is a particular patient I cared for while I was working in Haematology at East Melbourne. At the time we had what was called Primary Nursing Care, so as a full timer I was allocated to this patient every single day. I witnessed her journey, the ups and down and I became very attached. I treated her like my own family and she treated me like her daughter. I was on leave when she deteriorated and became palliative. On my return to work my colleagues told me that all she would repeat over and over was my name. I was sobbing when I found out. Even now I get so emotional at the memory. I still remember her as a special person in my heart and will always love and think of her.

Despite these emotional experiences, I love caring for patients and I am still passionate about my work. I love to listen to them and hold their hands. I’ve seen death - which is sad - but I have witnessed life, which is so special. I think nursing has always been in me.

I love working at Peter Mac. It is a tight knit community. We know each other, we work as a team to care for our patients and are well supported by leadership. I am still a nurse after all this time because of the culture at Peter Mac.