Caring is in the genes

Her grandmother was a volunteer Red Cross nurse in the Second World War; her mother has been a nurse for almost four decades. But Sarah Stonehouse travelled the world as a flight attendant before succumbing to the family tradition of caring, and joining her Mum as a nurse at St Vincent’s Hospital. It seemed an unlikely career choice for the former flight attendant, but at 30, Sarah found she was hankering for something more fulfilling.

“I would come in and see Mum for lunch and go up to the ward and have a look around.”

She said those visits sparked an interest not only in nursing but in St Vincent’s as a prospective place to work as well.

Sarah started her nursing career at St Vincent’s in January this year and is convinced that she made the right decision. Jane has enjoyed watching her daughter bloom in her new career, and has had a major role in mentoring Sarah.

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Sarah and Jane

“It’s been great when we were carpooling to have debriefs and she is loving it…and I could just see by the way my ear was burning, by the time we did a 25 minute trip home, that she was so excited with what she was doing and what she was learning,” Jane said.

Although part of what attracted Sarah to nursing and St Vincent’s is her mother Jane, she attributes her success to her own efforts and determination.

“I was really determined if I was going to get a position, it should be based on my uni degree and my interview so that I felt that I earned it,” she said.

As a senior nurse with many years of experience, Jane helps to train new graduate nurses on her ward. Sarah works on a different ward but the fact that she is a graduate nurse in her first year at the hospital has given Jane a new perspective on how she trains the graduate nurses.

“Having Sarah as a ‘grad’ has made me stop and think a little bit more like “Oh, this could be Sarah” when I am teaching a young graduate,” she said.

“The new nurses that are coming out of university have got the most amazing clinical skills and enthusiasm – and I learn a lot from them, as well as pass a few things on to them.”

And Jane’s long-held desire to pass her mother’s passion for nursing on to her own daughter has now come to fruition.

Jane is clearly delighted Sarah is carrying on the family tradition, ‘Sarah will make a beautiful nurse’.

“I can see my mother’s passion is instilled in Sarah,” she said.

“Mum would be enormously proud.”

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