Rebecca Deveraux did not always want to be a nurse.
As a child, Ms Deveraux planned to be a teacher, but by the time she began university, she had settled on accounting.
The problem was, as it turned out, she hated accounting.
But then, while at her part-time job, she met someone who was studying nursing.
Nursing went from being the subject of casual conversation to Ms Deveraux’s chosen profession.
The Wagga mum-of-three is currently clinical nurse educator in the medical unit at Wagga Base Hospital and has just been named as the winner of the excellence in education, research and innovation award at the Wagga Health Service Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards.
The award nomination paid tribute to Ms Deveraux’s “passion and positivity” and for her “fundamental influence in changing the culture of the medical unit with a focus on adult learning to improve practice and therefore health outcomes for patients”.
Ms Deveraux admits that being a nurse means often encountering people who are facing challenges, but she also says there are plenty of good times, a few laughs, and supportive colleagues who understand the profession.
Winner of the award for excellence in nursing: enrolled nurse Joseph Bouma has always understood the demands of his profession. Both of his parents are nurses.
“So, of course, they told me not to become a nurse,” Mr Bouma jokes.
He did indeed try something else – computing – but found himself drawn into health.
Initially, Mr Bouma worked as a wardsman at Calvary Hospital, but nursing beckoned and is now working at Wagga Base Hospital and doing further study.
Both his parents also work at Wagga Base.
Mum Margaret works in the hospital at home service, but like his son, dad Harry is in the nurse bank, which sees the pair working in varying hospital wards, sometimes together.
Unlike Ms Deveraux and Mr Bouma, a career in nursing has always been the goal of Maddi Brennan.
Ms Brennan is currently completing her registered nurse training at CSU Wagga and is employed as an assistant in nursing Aboriginal cadet, working in the surgical inpatient unit.
She won the excellence in nursing: assistant in nursing award.
Ms Brennan said her mother works in Aboriginal health care and had dreamed of becoming a nurse herself, 25 years ago.
“I grew up seeing the work she was doing, and I guess I am fulfilling her dream too,” Ms Brennan said.