The question one often ponders when making life choices is; 'Where will I be in 5 years?'
For Assistant in Nursing (AIN), Allison Shean, there is no doubt in her mind.
Allison will be where her heart is, at Boorowa Multipurpose Service with her patients doing exactly what brings her joy. Spending quality time with her elderly people and assisting them with the tasks of everyday life that we all sometimes take for granted.
Allison's passion and appreciation for older people began as a child.
"I grew up in Boorowa, my mum was nurse at Boorowa Hospital, as it was known then. As a small child I would come to the facility and just be with the residents. I always loved hanging out with them, listening to their stories and doing craft with them. It was the most natural thing for me.
"There was one particular resident who was deaf and could not speak who I spent lots of time with. She taught me to sign 'I love you', so here we were signing backward and forward, it is one of my fondest memories.
"When I moved away at 16 years of age to the bright lights of the Gold Coast, I worked in a bakery, and found my love and appreciation for older people remained the same. Other bakery assistants would become frustrated when their elderly customers would ponder over fairy cupcakes or vanilla slice, but I just relished the time with them, and my patience never waned," said Allison.
A pivotal point in her life was learning of her Great Aunt's passing.
"My Nan's twin had just passed, and it was a lightbulb moment for me. I had grown up in Boorowa with a huge extended family, my parents, lots of great Aunts, millions of cousins and especially my beloved Nan.
"When Nan's sister died, I decided that the glitter of the Gold Coast was not enough for me. I needed to spend as much time as I could with my family, because one just never knows. It has been the best decision and most rewarding years of my life.
Fate led Allison right back to the Boorowa MPS she spent time in as a child, with a position as a cleaner advertised at the Boorowa MPS.
"I applied straight away and got the job, which was amazing. I already knew so many people and the whole team was just so welcoming," said Allison.
"I then decided to train as an Assistant in Nursing because I found I wanted to help the elderly patients more than I was able in my role as a cleaner."
"It took a bit longer to get here than I anticipated because amongst all that my husband and I had three boys and life just got busy."
Two years ago, Allison was successful in attaining what she describes as her dream job.
"I am now employed by MLHD as an Assistant in Nursing and could not be prouder. My husband has been so supportive, and we are the best team. He also is an AIN at the hospital, so it really is a family affair.
"There is no place I would rather be and no other job that I would rather do, besides being a mum to my amazing boys.
"People often suggest I study to become a Registered Nurse, but that is not where my heart is. I know how important our nurses are and they work in emergency situations and care for chronically ill people, but I also see my role as essential. I feel my work is very individualised, hands on and is very personalised," said Allison.
"I am afforded the time to take extra special care of each person I look after. These are people's mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Many are alone and do not have family who can regularly visit them.
"My care and ability to talk, to be a meaningful part of their day, someone they look forward to seeing, makes my role something I could never leave.
"I would want my mum to have the same quality of care. I treat all my patients like I would my family and really feel like many of them are!"
"The job satisfaction I get from my work is worth more than any extra money I would receive from upskilling. Being an assistant in nursing is exactly where I want to be.
Allison's passion for her job is infectious, and spills over into her love of her home town. Her husband was born and bred in Canberra, but her joy for her town, work and family has cemented his love for Boorowa and all the community has to offer.
"Even if I wanted to leave, which I would never, there is no way he would go!" said Allison.
"Never mind the Running of the Bulls in Spain, Boorowa has the annual Running of the Sheep and what I think is a five-star facility full of passionate staff," laughs Allison. "Everyone needs to come to Boorowa!"
Allison and her co-workers recently won the MLHD Excellence Award: Our People our Future and talking to Allison it is easy to see why.
"The staff at Boorowa MPS are more than just a great team. We really feel like family to each other and this makes it a great place to work. I could not imagine being anywhere else," said Allison.
"Whether it is our nursing staff taking a plate back for the health share staff, or the health share staff going the extra mile to help the nurses and patients, everyone here is really just focused on making sure the patients are getting what they need so that we have the best possible outcomes.
"My cousin works at a large hospital in the city, when I talk to her she is envious of our work environment here. In larger facilities, it can feel impossible to know everyone, you sometimes feel like a number- not a person, but here at Boorowa MPS we are a community.
"We all really do take care of each other, like going to a funeral, celebrating a wedding and everything in between.
Allison's advice to those contemplating a regional tree change is to 'just do it.'
"You will be more than a number, you will feel embraced, a real part of your community and you will feel enriched for doing it. The city is not that far away if you need a city fix but you will enjoy coming home to the more relaxed, friendly and safe feel of a town like Boorowa," said Allison
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