SustainHealth Locum Of The Month: Donna, Registered Nurse

SustainHealth Locum Of The Month: Donna, Registered Nurse

SustainHealth recently reached out to our July Locum of the Month, Donna who kindly agreed to be a part of the SustainHealth Candidate Experience Series and answered our questions in regards to her time working as a Registered Nurse.

Donna has been a dedicated, diligent, and delightful candidate to work with. It has been a pleasure working with her and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future.

Read on to learn more about her story:

What is your current role?
I am an agency Registered Nurse with Sustainhealth

How many years of experience do you have?
I completed my degree in December 2015 at Western Sydney University in Campbelltown Sydney and graduated in April 2016. I began nursing when I was 15 years old in England UK, as a personal care worker, I have always enjoyed caring for others. When I was 12 years old I would operate on my dolls and then bandage them up until they had recovered (which they never did with their eyes hanging out of their sockets) However, the incentive was still there. I continued to work as an assistant in nursing when I immigrated to Australia, for fifteen years I have been working in various nursing homes and private hospitals. I came out of nursing to raise my big family of six children

What’s an interesting fact about you?
I am a mum of six children four daughters and two sons, their ages range from 30 years of age to 11 years of age. I am also a nanna to four beautiful grandchildren. My recent grandchild was born in May of this year. I love my family so much, that on my days off you will find me, catching up with one of my family members.

I am a twin not identical, and I am the oldest by an hour and five minutes, my poor mother. We often joke that my twin kicked me out of the womb because she felt she had been squashed up enough for almost nine months. We are also named after clothes shops, my full name is Donna Karen (Donna Karan New York, DKNY) and my twin is called Lorna Jane, (the fitness shop). Our physique fits our names well, I am round and short, and my twin is tall and lanky.

I came out to Australia when I was 17 years of age (nearly 18) in 1988 I lived in the North of England, a small town called Barrow-In-Furness Cumbria often referred to as the Lake District. I came for a six-week holiday and decided to stay here. I was able to obtain my permanent residency quite quickly (I applied four weeks after arriving here and received my bridging visa four days before flying back home, finally receiving my permanent residency in March 1989) I applied for my Australian Citizenship in 2011 after 23 years of living in Australia. Unfortunately, I still sound English and try as I might I am unable to speak the Australian slang, such as “G’Day mate, how’s it going” or “Hooroo”

Where are you currently located?
I am contracted for six weeks near the Snowy Mountains NSW. The area is picturesque with the lush greenery of the hills, mountain peaks, and fresh country air. The benefits of agency nursing you are able to explore the surrounding areas.

The staff I’m working with are warm and pleasant, they make you feel right at home. Most of my time here has been spent in the Accident and Emergency Department, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, it has been great to refresh my skills and knowledge base in a rural/remote healthcare setting.

How long is your contract for?
I was originally contracted for four weeks, in my first week they extended for another two weeks, which I was overjoyed about.

Why did you choose this location?
This location is only five hours from where I am residing in Sydney, I have driven home on my days off to catch up with family. Saying this I am not disturbed where I am contracted out to, Australia is a beautiful country why not visit these remote communities while working in the area.

What has been the highlight of your contract?
Meeting different people of different cultures and nationalities, either through working with them or providing a health care service to them.

What do you want your fellow contractors to know about your location or job role?
I would recommend working rurally or remote before age gets the better of you. It’s a great opportunity and an unforgettable experience to travel whilst working, exploring the outback that
Australia has to offer and enhancing your clinical skills and knowledge while you’re at it.

What essential items do you take with you when you leave home to work on a contract?
Toilet rolls, make-up, two pairs of slippers and shoes, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, uniforms, work shoes, bin liners, soap, shampoo and conditioner, face creams, moisturiser, lip balm (air conditioner in the nurse’s quarters and hospital dries your lips out), mobile phone, laptop or iPad (for health learning online)

How did you hear about SustainHealth?
I found SustainHealth through a google search, my girlfriend was working for an agency and I was interested in what she did, I liked what I read about SustainHealth and so I applied. I sent across my CV, via email with my corresponding documents of evidence of my clinical skills, knowledge, and experiences. I was really impressed with the consultant’s quick response. I believe I was on their books within a week.

How have you found the service from your consultant at SustainHealth?
I have dealt with most of the consultants at SustainHealth, and I found all of them to be professional, compassionate, and attentive to find their member’s work. For this contract, I was allocated to a consultant called Elaine Wu. Elaine is a beautiful individual and an asset to SustainHealth, I found that no question I asked of her was too hard or stupid for her to answer.

Unfortunately, when I joined SustainHealth the COVID-19 epidemic had hit Australia, the borders were closed making it harder for the consultants to find their members work. However, under these conditions, Elaine made sure she stayed in contact with me, updating me on the current contracts available if I was unsuccessful in obtaining a placement, she kept me informed and tried again, nothing was too hard for her. When I finally succeed in securing my current contract, Elaine was equally overjoyed and shared my excitement with me.

I had previously worked in the Accident and Emergency department in a rural health establishment and in a metropolitan hospital in Sydney. However, after finishing my contract in rural Australia, and prior to commencing work in Sydney as a permanent employer two weeks later. I was involved in a nasty fall. I sustained bilateral head fractures and was unable to work in the hospital setting due to my long recovery and the difficulty in obtaining clearance from my orthopedic surgeon. So, I turned to aged care nursing, where I had the privilege of working as an in-charge nurse. I believe with this experience and being at the other end of the health spectrum of being the patient I was able to reflect on the importance of quality health care for our aging individuals and for our health consumers.

The difficulty for me was getting back into the hospital setting and back into accident and emergency. To achieve this, I took up the incentive to continue to study my e-learning models and en-rolled in a Master of Nursing degree in clinical education. I am so elated with my consultant Elaine who believed in me and boosted up my confidence to take up my current contract. She was right and I have settled right in, I feel I have never been away from this specialised area of nursing. I love my job, I am always happy to be getting ready for work, its where I’ve wanted to be in my nursing career, and I am so thankful to Sustainhealth for giving me that opportunity, I am internally grateful to Elaine and the other consultants Kelsey Westwood, Katie Doyle, Rebecca Hall, Viki Villa, thank you all so much, I am looking forward to our next adventure together.

Would you recommend SustainHealth to colleagues or friends?
Absolutely, 10/10 for a perfect agency to be a member of.

Final Word: What is your top tip for other health professionals when choosing their next contract?
Go anywhere, see Australia while working, If I had never worked rural, I would have missed out on these beautiful rural and remote towns in Australia, and missed the opportunity to meet such wonderful people.

If you would like to learn more about how SustainHealth can help you find your next contract in Remote and Rural NSW, please contact Elaine at or call 02 8274 4660.