Nurse’s service recognised

Samantha Turner OAM at Manna Gum Gisborne MCHN service (Damjan Janevski) 411622_02

Oscar Parry

From volunteering in Nepal and Mongolia to working across the Northern Territory, Macedon Ranges nurse Samantha Jane has had a long career of serving community health.

A Macedon Ranges Health maternal child health nurse and lactation clinic head, she has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to nursing and to the community.

Ms Turner said it was a “big surprise” to receive an email notifying her of the award, and that she was in a state of disbelief.

“I had just spent about $300 getting a virus out of my computer, and I said to my son ‘can you come and have a look at this email? It looks very official … it sounds like a scam,” Ms Turner said.

“I had tears. I was stoked, I was shocked, honoured … and grateful – it did feel nice to be recognised. I’m glad it wasn’t spam,” she said.

Ms Turner grew up in Ballarat, and in her early career, she moved to the Northern Territory to serve clinics in Catherine and Arnhem Land.

“I got dropped off at a petrol station and realised no one was speaking English … I thought ‘how am I going to work here? How am I going to make a difference … when the clients don’t speak English?,” she said.

Ms Turner said these roles taught her important lessons that have served her throughout her career.

“I worked out that secondary communication … is very powerful, and that women communicate quite well and intuitively … by secondary communication through all different cultures in the world.”

Ms Turner has also volunteered with the Rotary Club of Gisborne and Rotary International, offering her skills to maternal and infant health projects in Mongolia and Nepal.

Now serving Woodend as a maternal child health nurse, she said she enjoys working in a community where she can effectively apply her knowledge.

“Because I’ve worked really hard to collect a lot of knowledge in a lot of areas, I can hand back all that … and I feel like I can be really super helpful and really help develop the community, so it fulfils me,” she said.

Ms Turner encourages people considering nursing to pursue the career if they want to make a tangible difference in communities.

“If you want to be in what I think is the most substantial role in health and make a real difference to improve morbidity, mortality and life trajectory outcomes – nursing is it.”