There is probably something a little bit inevitable about Mary Joseph deciding she wanted to change careers and become a midwife.
Her grandfather Farmey Joseph was a respected Wagga GP, who had met his wife Felicity, then a nurse, at work.
Wagga-born Ms Joseph is the only midwife among 59 new registered nurse and midwife graduates who started work this week as part of the Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s annual graduate intake program.
The initial intake of 59 is an increase on the 45 from 2018, and a further 24 will join the MLHD with intakes in May and August.
Ms Joseph, 40, admits that she did indeed want to be a nurse when she was a child, but life took her in other directions.
She has worked as a court reporter at the High Court and more recently, in Sydney, as a researcher with the Catholic Archdiocese.
But midwifery beckoned and Ms Joseph juggled her studies at the University of Technology in Sydney with work.
She is now enthusiastic about walking into the ward for her first shift at the Wagga Base Hospital on Wednesday.
“It’s very exciting,” Ms Joseph said.
Equally excited about his first day on the wards is Tim Hollis, who will be heading for a rotation in the coronary care ward.
Like Ms Joseph, Mr Hollis has been juggling his studies at University of Wollongong with his work in disability care.
Nurses have so many opportunities to go out and make a real difference.Tim Hollis
The 29-year-old admits it was sometimes a bit difficult to strike a balance between work and study, but worth it because nursing was always the career he wanted.
“I’ve always been drawn towards caring for people,” he said.
While Ms Joseph has chosen to concentrate on midwifery, Mr Hollis admits he is keen to see where his career takes him.
“Nurses have so many opportunities to go out and make a real difference,” he said.
The MLHD’s executive director of nursing and midwifery Karen Cairney said the graduates would work in a number of settings in the months ahead.
“Throughout their first year, graduates are provided opportunities in a variety of clinical settings to ensure they gain a range of experience and consolidate skills and knowledge developed while at university,” Ms Cairney said.
She said the MLHD had a 78 per cent retention rate of graduates who remain within locals hospitals across the district.
“Each nurse and midwife is linked with local nursing and midwifery management and educators so they have access to clinical or personal support when needed,” Ms Cairney said.