Reconnected: registered nurse Sandra Perry is loving being back on the hospital floor at Bellingen after a 16-year break. She i
Reconnected: registered nurse Sandra Perry is loving being back on the hospital floor at Bellingen after a 16-year break. She i

Reconnecting nurses up to the challenge

By UTE SCHULENBERG

WHEN Sandra Perry left nursing to have her children and run a business, she never dreamed it would be 16 years before she returned.

"I was not long out of my training but had always planned to return so I kept my annual registration current," Ms Perry said.

"When I moved to Coffs Harbour in 2004, I was thinking about nursing again when I saw the Reconnect advertisment. I enrolled in the threeweek course and here I am two years later ? I'm so glad."

The NSW Health Department's Reconnect program is an initiative to help ease the shortage of nurses statewide.

Director of Nursing for Bellingen and Dorrigo Health Campuses, Vince Carroll, said the program was particularly good because it provided funds for training and then allowed returnees to join the casual work roster.

"Normally any jobs advertised require registered nurses to have current skills.

"As casuals the nurses can get their skills up to speed, which then increases their chances of getting those per- manent positions."

Ms Perry said returning to her original profession had been a huge challenge.

"My confidence levels were not very high, but the support from the staff here at Bellingen has been fantastic.

"I am enjoying the variety of being in a smaller district hospital."

With the system due to change at the end of this calendar year, Mr Carroll is encouraging anyone interested to register now. For more information contact Cathy Klomp in Coffs Harbour on 6656 7168 or Vince Carroll on 6659 5801.



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