When Thembie Ndebele attended the 2015 HESTA Australian Nursing Awards, she didn’t think just a year later she would be a finalist in the prestigious event.
The prospect is now a reality, with the St Andrew’s Ipswich Private Hospital nurse in contention for the Outstanding Graduate Award.
The former aged care worker said hearing about the work last year’s finalists had done moved her to emulate their successes.
“I went to the HESTA awards last year and I was in awe of what the other finalists were nominated for,” Thembie said.
“I thought, ‘Wow, they’re really great nurses’. I wanted to aspire to be like them one day. I wasn’t picturing myself up on stage, but just knowing you can be appreciated was really nice.”
Seeing how well her mother progressed during a 30-year career as a midwife and nurse inspired Thembie to take a similar path.
It was an easy decision for someone who has always enjoyed being around people and making them feel better.
“I got the inspiration from my mum,” she said.
“I view myself as a caring person naturally, it’s in my nature. Just to be around people and try to make them feel better, try to make a difference in someone’s hospital stay every day, and try to make a positive impact on their wellness.”
Thembie described the nomination as a career highlight and praised the staff and the working environment at St Andrew’s Ipswich for helping make it a reality.
“It’s amazing, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “I was just being myself, so I think it’s a bit of a compliment.
“Our learning needs were really well accommodated throughout the entire [graduate]program. Everyone was really willing to share their experience to help me learn.”
A second St Andrew’s Ipswich nurse, Ashleigh Morriss, has also been nominated for the Outstanding Graduate Award.
St Andrew’s Ipswich Chief Executive Officer Christine Went said the hospital was incredibly proud of the two ladies and both were very deserving of their nomination.
“It’s another fantastic achievement for the team at St Andrew’s Ipswich,” Ms Went said.
“It is very representative of the caring, nurturing environment that allows new grads such as Ashleigh and Thembie to flourish. We are so proud of these ladies in making it to the final of these awards.”