• Loddon Herald

Career changes and connections

SUZANNE Hansen and Amberlea Smith may have new roles but they are familiar faces around Inglewood and Districts Health Service.

From starting as a personal care assistant 20 years ago, Suzanne is now the services’s social support co-ordinator.

“I enjoy working with the elderly ... they are quite amazing people, always with a story to tell and fun to be around,” Suz-anne said.

“In the new role, I get to spend lots of one-on-one time with clients for planned activities in Inglewood, Korong Vale and Wedderburn.

“The activities help keep minds active and are a social connection they love.

“They are the best - a happy bunch enjoying the company of others.”

The return to closer connection with residents and clients for Suzanne came after spending 12 years as a ward clerk during her two decades with the health service.

Amberlea started at Inglewood 15 years ago as a district nurse but in October 2019 became the infection control co-ordinator.

Within months, her time was spent writing policy and organising responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had to keep everyone safe and bring everyone along with the changes,” Amberlea said.

She said being a long-time staff member at Inglewood had helped with getting COVID responses and change “over the line”.

“That’s part of the joy of working in small communities. Everyone is respected for what they do,” she said.

“We have a responsibility to keep staff and residents safe. Afterall, for the residents, this is their home.

“A lot of the residents I first met as a district nurse.”

Amberlea and Suzanne said they had been encouraged to advance their careers.

“I have never received a ‘no’ when asking to do training,” Amberlea said. “This is a good place to be. Whether at the front door or the back door, there’s a lovely feel and the feeling of being respected and valued.”

Amberlea and Suzanne were among staff who have been recognised for long service.

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