Sue’s passion for healthcare was kindled during a childhood spent in hospitals. Although she was ill, she noticed how well the nurses treated her and the other children.
“When I was growing up, I was a sickly child so I had a lot of admissions to hospital and contact with nurses,” she says.
"From a young age, I always wanted to be a nurse. I just always felt that’s where I needed to go and what I needed to do."
With that goal firmly set in her mind, Sue set about achieving it. She began nursing training at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PA) in Brisbane, in 1990, and was part of the second last intake of nursing students to go through the hospital system. After her initial training, Sue worked in orthopaedics, which involved “lots of bed pans”. She went on to work in a range of units including gastrointestinal, anaesthetics, paediatrics and a tuberculosis ward. She eventually returned to the PA Hospital, a move that changed the course of her life.
“I found where I wanted to be, which was in the Emergency Department (ED),” she says. “I liked the fact that it was fast-paced. You had to think a lot on your feet and you worked in a team as a cohesive unit.”
During that time, Sue’s own team became larger with the arrival of her first child. She then moved to Mackay and began working in the Base Hospital’s Emergency Department. After a period of time, she decided to become a midwife. She finished a Bachelor of Nursing in 1996 and soon completed a Graduate Diploma of Midwifery. It was at this time that her second child was born.
Sue eventually went back to work in the ED, but also wanted to continue working as a midwife. “I had very good nurse unit managers who allowed me to work one week in Emergency Department and then one week in the Midwifery Unit,” Sue says. “I was lucky enough to be able to combine the two. I think it shows the flexibility of nursing and that you always have a lot of options, which is fantastic.”
Sue’s career took an even bigger detour when in 2002 she decided to leave nursing and study a Bachelor of Learning Management. She went on to teach Year 7 for three years.