Nurse’s career choice pays off

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Lynette Hernandez went against her parents’ wishes when she chose to pursue a nursing career over medicine or law, but her decision has been vindicated after she was recognised for excelling in her chosen profession.

Announced as a finalist for the Nurse of the Year Award in the HESTA Australian Nursing Awards, Lynette is reaping the rewards of her chosen path.

The 29-year-old was nominated by a patient whom she first cared for at The Sydney Clinic not long after she arrived in Australia from the Philippines five years ago.

As she reflects on the “overwhelming” recognition of her work, she recalls starting out on the journey that has led her to this point.

“My parents didn’t want me to be a nurse,” she said.

“My dad wanted me to be an attorney and my mum wanted me to be a doctor, but I decided I really wanted to be a nurse because when I was growing up I saw my mum, who is a doctor, helping other people.”

Lynette practised as a general nurse after graduating and she worked in emergency departments and maternity clinics.

She secured a position at The Sydney Clinic, a psychiatric facility run by private hospital operator Healthscope, when she arrived in Australia in 2011.

It was unlike anything she had experienced before.

“We don’t have many hospitals like The Sydney Clinic in the Philippines, so for me it was all new when I came to Australia,” she said.

“For me, drug and alcohol and mental health nursing is challenging and exciting. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but to see patients come back and get better is really rewarding.”

General Manager of The Sydney Clinic, Elma Fourie, said Lynette embodied the hospital’s values through her work.

“In providing day-to-day nursing care, Lynette is an excellent example on how to effectively listen and respond to our hospitals’ mental health clients in a kind way,” she said.

Lynette has worked with the patient who nominated her on and off over the past four years. The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, described Lynette as having “a heart of gold”.

“To be nominated, I can’t believe it,” Lynette said. “I’m only working in a very small hospital and it’s just very overwhelming.

“I’m turning 30 in June. This is the best gift – an early present for my birthday.”

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