Kate Lindsay still recalls the time her daughter Julia told day care staff that her mother worked in heaven with the angels.
That was after Kate, an Emergency Nurse at Bass Coast Health, endured a difficult shift in which a patient passed away.
Yet despite the challenges, Kate loves her work and her role as a mother to three children.
This Mother’s Day, Kate would not have life any other way.
Her three children – Hayden, 17, Xavier, 15 and Julia, 12 – are understanding of the demand of her work, including her need for sleep after night shift, and her husband Mark is a fabulous father and support.
“Being a nurse and being a mum are both nurturing roles so caring comes naturally to you but sometimes when I’m dealing with sick kids at work, there have been a few moments when I have had to keep my emotions in check,” she said.
“Working and parenting often feels like juggling so many balls at once and sometimes the balls do end up under the fridge.
“My kids play footy and netball at Inverloch and basketball at Korumburra, and I’m able to watch them play, but sometimes I miss a game, however the kids realise that nurses and doctors are needed at their jobs.”
As Associate Nurse Unit Manager at Wonthaggi’s Emergency Department, and a nurse of 10 years, in many ways Kate is a mother figure to the community that she cherishes.
“I love the puzzle of the Emergency Department – you are never sure who will come in. I love that I can help my community – people that I know and people that I do not know,” she said.
“You see people when they are most vulnerable and sometimes that can be hard. There are few steps of separation in the country and that can be challenging.
“What we do can be life-changing for people, but we might also just hold their hand while they’re getting sutured or just have a chat if they’re lonely.
“I’m so lucky that I get to work and live in the community that I love. I travel 10 minutes to work every day and not everybody can say that. It’s a great lifestyle in a beautiful part of the world.
“Even my mum Julie says to me ‘You looked after such and such the other day and they said you did a great job’. You wouldn’t always get that feedback from patients working in a metropolitan health service.”
Kate highly recommends nursing as a career for mothers.
“As well as nursing in a hospital setting, nursing offers plenty of roles for mothers that are not shift-related, such as with GP clinics or in the community. For some mums with toddlers, weekend work may suit their needs,” she said.
“Shift work has great advantages but sometimes there are disadvantages, like with anything. There is a lot of flexibility but during COVID there was a couple of years that were quite tricky because I could not work from home so juggling home schooling was not easy.”