Sharon McAllister-Boyles

Today the world at large, looks at medical workers as an inspiration. What inspired you to take up this noble profession?

My first job after leaving school in a graphic design studio. Whilst there I spent time working as a photographer’s assistant it was while working there that my colleague encouraged me to apply for a traineeship as a medical photographer within a medical illustration dept. I was successful in gaining this position at a nearby teaching hospital.

For 2 ½ years I worked in medical illustration at a local teaching hospital then moved to London to work at the prestigious Royal Postgraduate medical school at Hammersmith hospital. It was whilst working in that role and living with nurses in the nurses home that I knew I wanted to work as a nurse. I enjoyed being with the patients and was always sad to leave the wards or theatres not knowing how the patient’s journey had gone.

I applied to Glasgow School of Nursing in 1995 and graduated as a registered nurse in 1999. My first post was at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow Scotland working firstly with Gynaecological and Breast cancer patients then moved to the Head and neck ward. Working in Oncology and the experience I gained there helped me with my next role as a community staff nurse. My interest and passion for palliative care carried over to this post and within 3 years I had enrolled in the post graduate specialist practitioner degree for District Nursing. I worked as a District Nursing sister at a Gp surgery and at an out of hour’s district nursing service.

My family and I decided to immigrate to Australia and made the move in 2011. Since then I have had a number of roles firstly working with RDNS for a year on my arrival then from 2012 I have worked at Calvary healthcare Bethlehem firstly as a community CNS then since 2015 as an after-hours coordinator, I also work part-time in a palliative care unit.

Nursing and midwifery is a selfless job, working long and odd hours. How do you balance work and family? How do you de-stress?

The long hours I work do sometimes impact on my family work life balance but I am very lucky to be supported by my family who understand how important my job is to me. I enjoy listening to audio books as a way to de-stress, I have an interest in films and have recently started to meditate. Being able to get home to family back in Scotland and be in touch is important to me also. Given the restrictions now imposed during this current situation with COVID-19 this isn’t possible, so calling home to my family and keeping touch with my loved one’s is even more important. Working here at Bethlehem I am fortunate to have very supportive colleagues who are always there with a listening ear and they have helped me enormously in the years I have been lucky enough to work with them.

What is your advice to the younger generation who would like to pursue a career in nursing/midwifery?

My advice to the younger generation wishing to pursue a career in nursing or midwifery is to take on a role as a PCA initially nursing is hard work and having exposure to care in any context will help you going forward.