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Jill's Lifelong Nursing Career

50 years on and celebrating International Nurse Day 2022

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BANNER Jill Dexter 50 years nursing

12 May 2022

News | Aged Care Homes, BaptistCare

For many, nursing is a life-long commitment to the service of others. And for Jill Dexter, Residential Manager of BaptistCare Carey Gardens in Canberra, this year marks an incredible 50 years of dedication to her rewarding profession.

Today, in acknowledging International Nurses Day 2022 (Thursday 12th May), we celebrate Jill, and the vital care and attention of all our BaptistCare clinical staff as they deliver this across our residential aged care and at home teams.

Often, it’s a profession that runs in the family, and in Jill’s case she followed in her mother’s footsteps who was a paediatric nurse, and a nurse in the war.

When Jill commenced her training in 1971, the majority of trainees lived in the Nurses Residence at the hospital. Jill resided with her parents during the early days of her training and married during her first year. “Five years later, we had our first child,” said Jill, now mum to four grown men.

So what drives someone to become a nurse? “I’ve always liked to help people. I’ve always communicated well with people, and I thought nursing was the career for me. I believe nursing is building relationships, being a strong advocate as well as being kind and gentle. But certainly, building relationships and helping people recover and extend their lives, that’s why I’ve really become a nurse,” said Jill.

Over the past 13 years, Jill’s role at BaptistCare has allowed her to do just that. “I manage a 65 bed facility and a small team of 63-65 staff, and some of my staff have been here ten years or more, so once again it’s about relationship building. We work alongside each other. I am the manager, but I work alongside my staff, and the staff are just a delight,” said Jill.

Beyond the immense changes across the field, including technology, that Jill has witnessed throughout her career, she’s also experienced the radical change of hospital-based learning to university-based nursing. “Nursing is always evolving. When I started, I was in a starched uniform including dress, apron and cap. One star on your cap represented you were a first year nurse, two stars represented a second year nurse and three stars represented a third year nurse, then you became a registered nurse,” said Jill.

“Now, people enter as a registered nurse (RN) because they’ve all been to university and successfully gained their Bachelor of Nursing degree. Once registered they enter the workforce, and this is where their incredible journey begins as a new RN.”

Jill passes on her knowledge and passion to her staff and her students, who undertake training as part of their Certificate 3 and Certificate 1V in Aged Care. At BaptistCare’s Carey Gardens, Jill offers opportunities to Australian school-based apprentices to complete their Traineeships in Certificate 3 in Aged Care and supports undergraduate registered nurses to complete their clinical placements in aged care.

“I have 17 nursing students here at the moment. I can see who will benefit and be an advantage to my team… if the student is kind and caring, gentle, positive attitude, smiling, greeting people, those are the people I want to get on board. It’s certainly important to get people with the right attitude.”

This year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead. We’d like to thank all our nurses, including Jill, for their ongoing service and their unwavering voice and leadership across our aged care and at home services.