Determined to make a difference

Samantha Teh is soaring high after switching from being a legal eagle to a Florence nightingale – and she’s passionate about going as far in aged care nursing as she can.

Uniting AgeWell Strathdon Community Enrolled Nurse Samantha, believes cutting edge technology and nursing practices, especially in dementia care, are the way of the future – and she’ proud to be working in aged care.

And the 33-year-old is grateful to Uniting AgeWell for helping her progress her career – including paying for her latest diploma in dementia studies through the University of Tasmania.

Wind back the clock a mere eight years, and Samantha had left her home in Malaysia with a legal degree under her belt and moved to Melbourne to follow her heart and study nursing

She had helped take care of her grandmother in Malaysia, and was drawn to working with older people. “I am very compassionate, and I soon realised that law was not for me, and that I wanted to be an aged-care nurse,” she explains.

She started work as a personal carer at Strathdon Community and did a one-and-a-half year nursing course through Box Hill Tafe while working. She graduated in 2017, became a nurse at the aged care facility, and through her own initiative started paying for and studying courses in palliative care.

Now she’s taking advantage of Uniting AgeWell’s partnership agreement with the University of Tasmania and is studying a Diploma of Dementia. “It’s great that Uniting AgeWell are sponsoring me, it means I can study part time and continue to work, without having to pay university fees. The organisation’s trust in me makes me feel valued, they are the best employer I’ve ever worked for.” She plans on doing a Bachelor of Dementia afterwards.

Samantha intends staying in the aged care sector. “I am learning skill sets that I would never learn in a hospital system. And with dementia numbers increasing, the way of the future is studying in this area.”

And she also loves working for Uniting AgeWell. “One of the staff at Strathdon was my buddy during placement and is my inspiration. She has worked in the same dementia unit for 13 years! My manager and supervisor have been so incredibly supportive, I have learned a lot from them all.”

Her biggest rewards over the years haven’t been the diplomas hanging on her wall – but the difference she is making. “Families of residents who have died still keep in contact with me, and they still thank me for nursing their loved ones. I end up thanking them –for trusting me with their care!”

In between her studies, Samantha loves spending time with her partner and going to the gym.

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