" I see the panic and fear on patients’ faces when I first introduce myself on their surgery day, but at the end of the day they say: ‘That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be’. It’s a huge relief to them having gotten through their day of surgery. This reaction is an instant priceless reward for all the hard work I do in a day to support them. "
MAY 2022: NIDHI SAXENA - ASSOCIATE NURSE UNIT MANAGER, SURGERY ADMISSIONS
I was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. My father was a senior political editor for a leading Indian newspaper and my mother was headmistress at a public school. I am the middle child of three siblings including one elder brother and one younger sister.
I live west of Melbourne's CBD with my husband and two teenage kids - a daughter and a son. I am a New Zealand and Australian citizen, having lived in New Zealand for seven years. If I could characterise myself, I’d say that I am responsible, compassionate, and detail oriented - though sometimes I’m too hard on myself.
I am a qualified Production Engineer and have almost seven years of experience in the field. I took time off to plan my family and have kids. Once both my kids were in school, I wanted to get back into the workforce.
I wanted to do something that was challenging, interesting, and that made a difference in people's daily lives. I had a family friend who was a Registered Nurse who encouraged me to consider the profession.
In 2002, we moved to New Zealand and then on to Australia in 2009. I completed my Bachelor of Nursing degree in 2013 in Adelaide. It was a massive undertaking returning for further study after sixteen years in a different country with a different education system - and with two kids. But with the support of my family and my teachers I managed to complete my nursing studies.
Due to my husband’s change of work, we moved from Adelaide to Melbourne just after finishing my graduate nursing rotations. Within a month of moving to Melbourne I joined a nursing agency and one of my first shifts was on one of the wards at Peter Mac. I really enjoyed the working environment and the team support I received, so when I had the opportunity to join casual bank, it was a no brainer.
Nursing has been a fantastic career for work-life balance and providing great flexibility while I care for my kids.
I am currently working three days a week as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager with Day of Surgery Admissions. I have completed five years at Peter Mac in March this year. Fabulous Five!!!
I find nursing patients during the end-of-life care phase very rewarding because of the emotional support we provide and the connections we make with the patient and their family. These factors contributed heavily to my decision to continue to work in oncology – it’s a great fit for me.
I am also really passionate about training new nursing staff, especially graduate nurses. I really enjoy inspiring them and helping them discover what their future career in nursing or the healthcare industry could look like.
"One of my favourite pieces of advice came from a graduate who worked with me – they said: “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. An important reminder to take care of yourself - this will only benefit your patients."
Being praised for a job well done—and believing in the work I do—motivates me to get out of bed in the morning. I like knowing that I'm appreciated because I give every job my all. I also like knowing that the work I'm doing is contributing towards my team’s efforts to provide the best care to our patients.
The pandemic has influenced hospital work and nursing all over the world.
First, I went through extreme anxiety and fear of being exposed to the virus and carrying it home to my family. Work during this time was incredibly taxing, especially due to staff going into isolation on a regular basis. The increased use of personal protective equipment for longer hours was also very demanding. Sometimes I felt alone and unsure about when this will end. I was really frustrated that the public was not taking the pandemic seriously.
Despite all this, I appreciated the support I received from my family and friends. That encouraged me to keep going. Plus the support and timely communications from my manager and the senior leadership at Peter Mac also helped me to deal with everything that was happening. I appreciated working within an organisation that provided a safe environment for me and my team. This allowed us to ask questions and find appropriate and safe solutions to tasks that arose in this new and COVID-19 working environment.
During this pandemic I silenced fear, rose to the challenge, persevered and gave my best as a nurse.