By Jessica Micallef
It’s National Palliative Care Week. Kyneton District Health registered nurse Andrea Perry speaks about the rewards and challenges that she comes across working in palliative care.
What is your connection to Sunbury and Macedon Ranges?
I was born in Kyneton and am the youngest of nine children – my twin sister is about 22 minutes older than me. My parents were both born here and still live locally, along with many of my family.
How long have you lived in the area?
I have lived in Kyneton all of my life. It really is a beautiful place to grow up. I married a local boy and we have three wonderful children. Actually, three wonderful adults as they are all grown up now – 18, 21 and 23-years-old.
What are you passionate about?
My first passion is my family. I love being a wife and mum. Before having children, you think your life is busy, but nothing prepares you for parenthood. Becoming a mum is amazing and I’ve loved every stage … but seeing them become adults and independent is fabulous.
I am also passionate about my job as a nurse. From a very young age, it was all I ever wanted to be. I am truly blessed being able to do something that I love. I get to care for others, help people in difficult times and hopefully make a difference to their lives.
I also love to teach and I hold a certificate IV in training and assessment. I’ve taught nursing at Bendigo TAFE and more recently, along with a colleague, rolled out a series of palliative education sessions to staff at the five residential aged care facilities in the Macedon Ranges.
What do you enjoy most about working at Kyneton District Health?
I really enjoy that I get to work with and help my local community. We have a wonderful team and everyone is supportive.
Why did you decide to work in palliative care?
I’ve worked across many areas of nursing and enjoyed them all. Palliative care is very important to me and it’s a privilege to care for people, especially towards the end of life. It’s rewarding to visit people in their own homes, surrounded by their families and provide education and support to empower families.
What are some challenges that you come across while working in palliative care?
There are many challenges working in palliative care, especially in the community. We need to work closely with the person, their family, GP and specialists. It can also challenge you emotionally, as you build relationships with the patient and their loved ones, whilst knowing that ultimately the person you are caring for will die. Dying is a normal part of life and I think we need to talk about it more.
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
I love to dance. When you care for people all day long, you need to care for yourself too. I have found line dancing, rock and roll dancing and salsa dancing make me happy. Also it is great exercise and I have met some truly amazing people.
If you could change one thing about Sunbury or the Macedon Ranges, what would it be?
The weather in winter – it is very cold … Other than that, the Macedon Ranges is fabulous, full of beautiful people and beautiful places.