Injury is not the end of the story

Sandy* is an enrolled nurse with over 50 years' experience, after an injury at work she feared it was the end of her career.

This is her story:

"I always wanted to be a nurse. I trained as an enrolled nurse in a large health service over 50 years ago. I am passionate about nursing and I cannot imagine doing anything else. I always loved clinical work in hospitals and feel that I contribute to my team. Patients are my focus and I strive to give them high quality care.

Physical nature of work 

As an enrolled nurse I didn’t think there were many options for me to change the type of work I did without further education, which for various reasons was out of my reach. For several years I found the work more physically difficult, but didn’t want to say anything, as I was concerned I would be forced out.

I considered retiring, but it just wasn’t right for me. I enjoy going to work; it’s where most of my friends are. Working also keeps me active, and financially I couldn’t afford it after my husband passed away.

Four years ago I injured my back when a heavy patient fell out of bed onto me while I was assisting with their hygiene. It took me quite a while to get better. I thought that it was the end of my career and I became quite depressed.

Recovery and return to work

But it wasn’t the end, in fact I found myself surrounded by a great support network. My manager, GP and WorkCover all helped me through a return to work program. I wasn’t able to return to the role I did before but now I work in an ambulatory care department where there is minimal manual handling involved.

While I got great support from my workplace, I have friends who haven’t been as lucky and have left nursing under similar circumstances.

Not knowing what support was out there for me was one of the most difficult parts of being injured. I really hope that Nurse & Midwife Support takes some of the guesswork out of it for other people."

What can I do next?

Why not read some of our other articles on topics relating to this story:

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

*Name changed