The value of a fulfilling career

16 March 2018

Tomasina Purcell

Tomasina is a nurse at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children and the Adult Mental Health Day Service, and a volunteer educator for MIEACT.

At YWCA Canberra, we value diversity. That is why we launched Write for Us, an opportunity that provides our members and friends with a platform to discuss their experiences. Today, we are sharing an article written by Tomasina Purcell, discussing the importance of a fulfilling career.

I have often heard the saying ‘find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life’. Although I don’t believe this expression to be true in many instances, including my personal career progression, I appreciate the sentiment it holds and what it attempts to inspire.

For me, feeling free and inspired to choose something I am passionate about for a living has been essential to my being. It has given me purpose, drive and hope when I have needed a reason to remain grounded.

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on where these values have come from.

My mum is of Burmese and Persian decent, she grew up in Burma, now known as Myanmar, and migrated to Australia with her family as a teenager. Burma was and continues to be a country of political unrest; unsafe and unpredictable. Despite this, my mum speaks of Burma fondly, sharing memories of a connected community, exotic food, and chasing crickets with her siblings for fun.

Being able to find seemingly simple elements to be grateful for amongst difficult and ugly situations has always been a gift of my Mum’s. Mum has instilled the importance of ‘security’ within my brothers and me.

Given her vast experiences from a young age; living in a country with limited healthcare resources, experiencing extreme political unrest and leaving her homeland behind. Mum has always encouraged me and my brothers to seek pathways that will allow us to live comfortably and safely.

My Dad was born in Canberra and in fact has never left Australia! Dad is the sort of person who knows a lot, about a lot of things. If ever I have a question, there is a good chance Dad will know the answer.

Dad studied a Bachelor of Geology at the Australian National University (ANU), and despite being awarded a scholarship to pursue further studies, chose to work and teach at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). Dad has always had a number of projects going, often relating to renewable energy.

My dad has taught me (whether he is aware of this or not) that finding a job you enjoy, where you are constantly learning, is invaluable.

Growing up, I experienced mental illness from a young age and this made it difficult to foresee a future for myself at all.

It was by chance that when I was 18, I went to give blood and had a very special moment while sitting across from the nurse taking my blood that day.

I realised that I could either end my life, or I could use my healthy body and mind (when I take care of it) and become a nurse.

As a young person who completed college without an ATAR. I have gone on to complete a Bachelor Nursing and a Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing. I am currently completing my Master of Mental Health Nursing. I have kindly been granted the flexibility to work across two incredible areas; The Adult Mental Health Day Service and Paediatrics.

I am constantly learning, enjoying my career path, and providing for those I love.

I am incredibly grateful for the lessons my parents have taught me and my experiences as a young person, as it has shaped me to be the health practitioner that I am today.

The Write for Us opportunity is a part of our larger advocacy strategy. Advocacy is at the heart of the work we do at YWCA Canberra, and with the vision of women shaping our communities, we want to amplify the diverse voices of women in the Canberra community. To discover more about YWCA Canberra’s advocacy, subscribe to Y Action today.

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