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08 Mar 2018

Celebrating different skill sets during International Womens Day at the San

Nurses, doctors, administration, hospitality staff, volunteers, and allied health staff are amongst all the women being recognised today on International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Celebrated globally the day recognises the role women play in the community and the workforce.

Nurses Charlene Miate and Rebecca Dinn, Dr Jeanette Conley Medical Administrator, Hospitality worker Cindy Williams, orthopeadic surgeon Dr Mich Atkinson, Volunteers Nerolie Arnold and Misang Lieu, and administration assistant Rochelle Eisen, all came together to represent the 1800 plus females working at the San, 75% of our total 2400 staff.

The San also has more than 300 female doctors and more than 400 female volunteers. Nationally one fifth of all working women, work in health, aged care or social service jobs, and 75% of all employees in healthcare are women.

San Medical Executive Dr Jeanette Conley is one of the 1 million plus women who have chosen to work in healthcare.

“Over the past 38 years I’ve had a range of jobs in the healthcare sector including nurse, junior doctor, military doctor, medical director and healthcare executive.

I’ve found the healthcare sector to be a great environment for a woman to work in.

Women do get equal pay for equal hours and roles worked, and there can be roles that fit well with family needs.

I was able to work part time for most of the kids school years. Other than when I chose work part time, I never found that being a woman held me back. I was here to do a job and in many ways that was gender neutral and there were lots of opportunities for advancement.

One of the most interesting environments was when I was a doctor with the Royal Australian Navy. I joined at a time when women weren’t allowed to go to sea but eventually it became mandatory for both males and females and I spent a year as doctor on HMAS Success.

It really taught me that women can flourish when there is commitment to make the right environment and culture.”

With a sister who has also chosen to go into nursing, Charlene says she she chose healthcare as a job because of the variety.

“As a nurse I can be nurturing, compassionate and empathetic …and I love working with people who care.

Sometimes I see the amazing difference they make reassuring and comforting someone and the difference it makes… Then I realise, gee, I get that chance too.

What women do in healthcare is important. I love it.”

As Coronary Care Nurse Unit Manager at the San with over 35 years’ experience Rebecca Dinn says healthcare is an understandable job choice for women.

“Nurses need to be organised, multi task, think critically, and reliable and show they care. Healthcare is a great job for a woman.”

The champion of International Women’s Day at the San, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Mich Atkinson says support, camaraderie and networks can be life-changing for women.

“Less than 5% of orthopaedic surgeons are female which is a shame given the demand, especially when women are so capable, inclusive and empathetic.

International Women’s Day gives us a chance to recognise, thank and encourage. It’s good for the individuals, but better still, it’s our north shore community who will benefit as women who have chosen caring careers, reach their potential.”

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