Some people just know what they want to do.
“From the time I was very little I wanted to be either a police officer or a nurse,” says Deborah Eveleigh. “I always knew that I wanted to help people.”
But after an uncle in “the force” suggested that might not be the life for her, she took a work experience placement at the Bairnsdale Hospital, and we’ve been lucky enough to hang on to her ever since.
Deb’s remarkable career as a health professional began when, as a 20-year-old, she applied for a job as an activities assistant at what was then Jacaranda House.
“To be honest, I had no skills,” she remembers. “But I was enthusiastic, and I liked to talk to people. I got the job.”
“I was really lucky in that my bosses back in those days really helped and encouraged me to study and get those certifications, and to keep trying for new things.”
That opened the door to what would become the defining characteristic of Deb’s professional life – an eagerness to study and gain new qualifications in order to expand her experiences and grow her career.
It was in that activities assistant job that she gained her first healthcare qualification – a Certificate 4 in Personal Care through the Bairnsdale TAFE.
It wasn’t long before she wanted to go further, to take another step toward her dream of being a nurse, and so she took a Certificate 4 in Nursing.
Deb says the support that her supervisors provided was critical at this early stage of her career.
“I was really lucky in that my bosses back in those days, Glenda Hopkins and Lou Ryan, really helped and encouraged me to study and get those certifications, and to keep trying for new things,” she remembers. “They’d be like ‘come on, you can do this,’ and they’d roster me around school days so I wouldn’t have to lose or swap shifts in order to study.”
With every new step or promotion, her drive remained, and she went on to complete her Bachelors of Nursing through Charles Darwin University. (“I never much liked being stuck in a classroom. So those online courses were great.”)
Alongside her passion for study and professional improvement, a love of aged care has been the other constant in Deb’s professional life.
Apart from a single year during her graduate studies, Deb has worked her entire career at BRHS’ Residential Aged Care facility, Maddocks Garden, where she is now the manager.
Having spent much of her adult life in this community, Deb says she now finds herself a welcome part of the journey for many locals that once knew her as a kid.
“One of the residents here used to be my old netball coach,” she says, smiling. “So the other day she pulls out all these old photos of me as a kid, in my little netball skirt! It was really great to see her again.”
Deb says she has always derived great joy from working with older people, for what appears to be the very simple reason that she seems to love life, and so also loves hearing the stories of people that have lived it.
That affinity for the people she serves is reflected in the quality of her work. Under her leadership Maddocks Gardens has made numerous key improvements, and Deb is regularly commended and praised by her colleagues. She was recently nominated for a Public Sector Residential Aged Care Services Leadership Award for her commitment and outstanding leadership in the field.
More than that, Deb is a tremendous example to nurses at all stages of their career of the many doors that can open for you, if you do something you love and are willing to keep learning!
She is also part of the magnificent nursing staff here at BRHS that we want to take a moment to recognise ahead of International Nurses Day this Sunday.
You can show your appreciation too.
With this special online form, below, it takes just a few seconds to send a message to nurses everywhere thanking them for the amazing work they do.
Do your good deed for the day and send a message now!
MESSAGES OF APPRECIATION FOR NURSES!