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Written By

Bianca de Loryn


College of Healthcare Sciences

Publish Date

6 December 2023

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Studying nursing in the 1990s

JCU Nursing Alumni Judy Reichman shares her journey from a self-conscious student in Townsville in the 1990s to helping families as a Registered Nurse and Midwife as well as a coordinator of the free Triple P parenting program in Townsville.

Judy Reichman enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing at JCU in 1991, as it was always clear for her that she wanted to be in a health-related profession. “I come from a very caring family that ingrained caring for people, animals and the environment into me.

"So, studying nursing was a natural progression for me, especially after my school principal, Gale McKay, encouraged me to pursue a career,” Judy says.

The support of her principal was important to her, Judy says, because she was unsure about herself and her future. After all, she was the first in the family to leave her hometown and study at a university.

But it was her mother who was there for her when she needed her most. “I remember my first day at uni, with my mum driving me from Ayr to Townsville. I knew no one in Townsville, and I was scared out of my wits, but I had my eye on the prize.”

Judy Reichman.
Happy family.
Left: Judy Reichman (provided)

A positive parenting discovery

Being focused worked out well for Judy, who graduated in 1993 and decided to stay in Townsville. Soon after, she started her own family and realised that parenting doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

“I had four children in five years, and so I had a lot going on. It was a very busy household,” Judy says. “I was somewhat overwhelmed by my family situation.  A child health nurse recommended me to go to the free Triple P program, and I was happy that I chose to go.

“Triple P stands for Positive Parenting Program. It is a way of helping parents to be more proactive in their parenting rather than reactive,” Judy says. “The program is about building confidence. It teaches parents strategies that help them to pre-empt unwanted behaviour in children.

“Once these strategies are being implemented, families have more rewarding times,” Judy says, and adds that the program helped her get on a better footing with her children and to have a more peaceful family life.

Building on success

While Judy was working as a Registered Nurse at the Kirwan Health Campus of the Child, Youth and Family Health Service (CYFHS) in Townsville, she felt that she still needed to know more about the profession.

She returned to uni to study a Graduate Diploma of Midwifery in 2009, and a Graduate Certificate in Child, Youth and Family Health Nursing in 2016.

Judy was also still interested in the Triple P program, which had been an eye-opener for her when she was raising her children. She decided to learn how to facilitate Triple P herself.

So, in 2022 she become the coordinator of the program at Kirwan CYFHS, and in 2023, the Stepping Stones Triple P program gave her the ability to reach parents of children with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Adapting a valuable program to parents’ needs

One of the challenges that came with this role was to adapt Triple P to suit the needs of young parents today. Judy says that when she had participated in the program in the 1990s, she had struggled to visit every single session.

For parents today who need to juggle work and family life, time management has become even more difficult. “Traditionally, we offered an eight-week group program, but we are now offering one-on-one appointments on a Tuesday or a Friday.”

Judy says that the time she and her team put into updating Triple P for the 2020s was well spent. “We still get a lot of joy seeing the light bulb moments for families,” Judy says. “It doesn't always mean our families will access the full program. Sometimes it's just the opportunity to sow the seed.

“I love that Triple P predominantly shares the common idea that parents ultimately want the best for their kids, and parents respond well to that.”

Positive parenting for the next generation

Now, as Judy’s daughter is a new Mum herself, Judy is happy to see that her wealth of positive parenting knowledge is handed down to the next generation.

“I have really appreciated the impact that Triple P has made on my life and my kids’ life,” Judy says. “I'm just seeing my daughter parenting her little boy, twelve months old, and taking on some of those values as well.”

Want to learn more? Triple P is a free parenting program that is delivered online and in-person around Australia and internationally.

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