'This is where I'm meant to be' nurse reflects on 20 years
WHILE many people feel uncomfortable in hospitals, it's where Jo Bell is most at home.
After 20 years of working as a nurse and 14 as a midwife, Mrs Bell still feels the same calling she had as a teenager when she realised it was what she wanted to do.
"My sister got sick and I went into the hospital and I met the nurses and asked 'how do you become a nurse?',” Mrs Bell said.
"I wanted to be a doctor as well but realised I didn't have the marks for that.
"So (my sister) was sick and we went to the hospital and I spoke to the nurses and realised this is what I want to do.”
She studied to be a nurse in Brisbane in 1994 before starting work at the Prince Charles hospital.
She then worked in the South Burnett town of Cherbourg for nine months before moving to Bundaberg where she studied midwifery.
This became one of her favourite parts of her career.
"Helping newborns into the world is one of the most amazing experiences you can ever have,” she said.
"Being able to assist a woman to be able to deliver that baby and make that rapport and empower them to bring a new life into the world is just a special thing.
"Even now after 14 years I still get an adrenaline rush every time a baby comes into the world and I've helped deliver it.”
After two years in Bundaberg she worked in Warwick before returning to her home town of Stanthorpe in 2014 to raise her two children.
Over that time, Mrs Bell says, the way nursing is perceived has changed.
"We're being seen more as a profession now rather than 'hand maidens'.
"It's not just looking after people, there's so many different facets of nursing you can go into from recruiting, management to education. Lots of lots of choices.”
Mrs Bell currently works in the area of patient safety where she is looking at ways to improve systems and processes.
"With 20 years experience I wanted to accumulate all of the knowledge that I had and use it in a positive way somehow.
"It's like you're a mouse on the ground when you're looking after people, but then as you get out you're more of an eagle taking an eagle eye look at how everything fits together.”
Even after 20 years Mrs Bell still believes she'll be a nurse for a long time to come.
"To me nursing and midwifery is a vocation. It's a calling to me.
"I feel like this is where I'm meant to be.”